Wastewater services firm among first to achieve ISO 45001:2018

Lanes Utilities new training ‘igloo’.

Lanes Utilities, part of drainage specialist Lanes Group plc, has joined the first cohort of organisations to achieve ISO 45001:2018 accreditation.

ISO 45001:2018 is designed to be a significant upgrade of the current OHSAS 18001 standard, setting a global benchmark for continuous improvement in health and safety.

New elements in the standard include a clear link between health and safety and business strategy, a stronger focus on the role of business leadership and management teams, and greater emphasis on worker engagement and participation.

Lanes Utilities is the sole wastewater network services maintenance partner for Thames Water. Its 1,400 people are responsible for unblocking, cleaning and repairing drains and sewers for 15 million wastewater customers.

Lanes Group Director Andy Brierley, who leads the operation, said: “As soon as the new standard came out, we knew we wanted to challenge ourselves by seeking to achieve it as early as possible. We want to be the best WNS maintenance provider, and to do that we need to be the safest.”

To achieve ISO 45001:2018 accreditation, Lanes Utilities underwent a stringent independent audit of its occupational health and safety management systems and processes, carried out by the British Standards Institution (BSI).

Business Systems and Compliance Manager Hannah Clark said: “This has been such a wonderful accomplishment for Lanes. It’s proof we have leaders who place undivided emphasis on health, safety and wellbeing.

“This was a true team effort, and everyone at Lanes Utilities can feel proud to know that they played such a huge part in achieving this accreditation.

“It’s exciting to know that we’re at the cutting edge of health, safety and wellbeing quality in the UK and across the globe. The standard gives us confidence that the whole organisation is stepping in the right direction and that we’ve got the tools and cultural values to keep improving.”

Lanes Utilities is recognised in the utility industry for its innovative approach to health and safety. In partnership with Thames Water, it has been the first to introduce a 360-degree video theatre, so wastewater engineers can undergo sewer maintenance training in complete safety.

It has also pioneered new approaches to workplace wellbeing, with the introduction of a wellbeing app, which measures the happiness of its workforce, and a wellbeing and mental health practitioner programme to provide all staff with professional support.

Lanes Utilities has won multiple health and safety awards. In 2018 it won the Water Industry Achievement Health and Safety Award and in October 2018 it was shortlisted for the Utility Week Health and Safety Award.