NAWC Releases 2021 Safety Benchmarking Report

Results show sustained leadership in health and safety, along with cybersecurity

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The National Association of Water Companies has released its annual Safety Benchmarking Report, which focuses on the work being done by regulated water systems to ensure worker safety and water security.

“A global public health pandemic, economic turmoil and a cybersecurity breach at a municipal system in Florida were just some of the challenges water providers faced in the past year,” says NAWC President and CEO Robert F. Powelson. “NAWC member companies kept their eyes on the ball and managed to surpass 2019 safety benchmarks and provided uninterrupted delivery of clean and safe water to the communities they serve.”

The Safety Benchmarking Report focuses primarily on the health, safety and security programs at NAWC member companies as well as accident incidence rates in 2020. You can access the full report here.

The survey found that NAWC member companies are continuing to make incremental gains on their health and safety program structures.

  • 91.3% of respondents (up from 88.9% a year ago) have a specific health and safety policy in place by management.
  • 95.7% of respondents (up from 94.4% last year) reported having a health and safety program. Almost two-thirds of responding companies reported having an internal health and safety audit inspection program, and a similar percentage conduct external safety audits of their systems.

“Safety, both of our colleagues and of our water systems, is something that benefits from unwavering diligence,” says Powelson. “I am proud that the regulated water industry continues to be a leader in the critical areas of water system cybersecurity and preventing workplace safety incidents.” Findings reveal that regulated water companies have both higher cybersecurity standards and lower workplace safety incidence rates than their public counterparts:

  • 93.9% of respondents reported having a cybersecurity program/plan in place, with 81.8% reporting that they have implemented elements of the National Institute of Standards and Technology cybersecurity framework within their operations.
  • The safety Recordable Incident Rate average was 2.2, far below the government rate of 3.0. Similarly, the DART (Days Away, Restricted or Transferred) and Lost Time Incidence Rates reported by respondents were lower than the government rates. (Both are Occupational Support and Health Administration measures of workplace incidents.)


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