Case study: HS Orka – strengthening health and safety standards in geothermal power production

HS Orka is the largest private power generator in Iceland, providing 100% renewable electricity to homes and businesses. It also operates a water and district heating supply business and has established the Resource Park to sell geothermal by-products to a range of businesses including the Blue Lagoon tourism complex, biotechnology companies and aquaculture farms as part of its commitment to foster a “society without waste”.

The company is a pioneer in geothermal power production, a process which requires management of large equipment, gases and steam at high temperatures and pressures. As a result, operational risks need to be carefully managed to ensure the safety of employees, contractors, visitors and local communities.  Health and safety (H&S) is of paramount importance for Ancala and, as an experienced investor in infrastructure, is an issue our teams have significant expertise in.

On acquisition in May 2019, the Ancala team identified several opportunities to enhance the rigour of H&S management and have put substantial emphasis on improving H&S standards. For example, Ancala has made H&S the first agenda item at each Board meeting and H&S KPIs, including the rate of Lost Time Incidents, form a core part of the management reviews and incentive plans.

A new dedicated H&S Manager role has been created and the frequency of mandatory H&S training has been increased. H&S Awareness weeks have also been introduced. Contractors are now managed through a ticketing system whereby H&S policy breaches result in exclusions from site for a period of time (dependent upon severity of the breach). 

Since investment, there has been a marked improvement in H&S standards and greater awareness and rigour.