ESB: Developing a Culture of Health & Well-Being

Company DescriptionBusiness in the Community Ireland

ESB is Ireland’s leading energy utility. We generate, distribute and sell (through our retail company ESB Electric Ireland) electricity to customers throughout Ireland.


Business Issue

ESB’s safety objective is simple – we will have zero injuries. Occupational diseases are addressed as part of our safety management process. However, ESB recognises the benefits of promoting general health and wellbeing of our staff and have continued our structured approach to promoting better health.


Solution Applied

In pursuit of the objective of developing a “health culture” in ESB, a specific Group Policy and Programme on Health and Wellbeing has been developed.  Included in the programme are:

  1. Health screening services for staff and partners
  2. Health awareness initiatives, monthly
  3. An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to provide support, guidance and counselling to staff – on both work and non-work related personal and family issues.


These measures are also supported by our attendance management policy which encourages staff to return to work after illness or injury as soon as they are fit to do so, including taking on ‘light’ activities


Company Benefits

While it is not possible to draw a direct relationship between the measures implemented and improvements in attendance at work, a significant reduction in absences from work has been recorded in ESB over the past number of years.


Stakeholder Benefits

According to Ronan Collier, Group Health & Safety Co-ordinator, “ESB staff attitude to safety, health and well-being is very positive.  We have recorded that more than 80% of our staff are satisfied with the safety, health and wellbeing approaches and supports we have put in place”.



Extending the safety policy and safety communications to include a broader focus on health and well-being has to be placed in the appropriate context for staff, if it is to be fully embraced.  In developing our focus from a “safe behaviour” culture to a “healthy” culture we continually need to ensure that our key messages are relevant and accessible.  ESB has a diverse workforce and it is important to provide a number of “entry levels” to the healthy lifestyle concept so that everyone can get involved, to whatever level they wish.



Providing practical support for people interested in engaging in a healthy lifestyle is an effective engagement tool.  Examples include: employee health screening programmes, promotion of healthy eating in staff canteens, promotion of active lifestyles through the formation of walking/ cycling clubs etc.


Department Involved

Health Services in ESB


Year                                                                                                                                                           2012