National Grid: musculoskeletal early intervention programme - Business in the Community

National Grid: musculoskeletal early intervention programme

How National Grid has prioritised employee health and wellbeing by addressing the issue of musculoskeletal injuries.

National Grid is an energy company operating in the UK and the US. It plays a vital role in connecting millions of people to the energy they use. National Grid enables the innovation that is transforming the energy system.

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National Grid prioritises employee health and wellbeing, implementing an onsite early intervention programme to address musculoskeletal injuries within its gas, electric, and support operations in the US. Launched in 2016, this initiative has markedly reduced both the incidence and severity of injuries among its field service staff.

The issue

Utility field workers, due to their physically demanding roles, frequently suffer from musculoskeletal injuries. Overhead line crews often experience shoulder injuries, while gas and support staff are prone to back strains and sprains. Many of these injuries can be prevented through better physical fitness, ergonomic positioning, and early intervention for discomfort. Traditional safety communications from the safety department had limited success in reducing these injuries, as best practices for injury prevention were not being adopted in the field.

What the company did

Following a successful pilot, National Grid partnered with ATI Worksite Solutions to bring on board a team of Certified Early Intervention Specialists (CEIS). These professionals, akin to athletic trainers for sports teams, are experts in physical conditioning and first aid. Deployed across New York and Massachusetts, the CEIS team prepares workers for their physical tasks, advises on ergonomic techniques, and provides care for early signs of discomfort, thus preventing further injury. A significant element of the programme is the “utility worker movement screening” (UWMS), which identifies potential injury risks and prescribes targeted conditioning programmes. The CEIS also serve as first responders for acute injuries and offer guidance on general health topics, enhancing overall worker wellbeing.

The impact

The programme has been highly effective, as evidenced by employee feedback: “I appreciate National Grid supplying us with an Athletic Trainer. This has helped me with my shoulder mobility and without it, I may have had to have shoulder surgery,” said one US operational employee. In 2023 alone, the CEIS treated 467 musculoskeletal injuries, with 87% resolved through first aid and conditioning, significantly reducing the need for medical intervention. Additionally, 699 Utility Worker Movement Screenings were conducted, with 85% of participants reporting improved physical condition. The programme not only aids in immediate injury prevention but also contributes to a decrease in injury severity and medical expenses over time.

I appreciate National Grid supplying us with an Athletic Trainer. This has helped me with my shoulder mobility and without it, I may have had to have shoulder surgery.

US operational employee, National Grid


The implementation of the onsite musculoskeletal early intervention programme by National Grid has significantly contributed to preventing and mitigating injuries among field service operations staff. The programme demonstrates National Grid’s commitment to employee wellbeing, extending beyond standard safety measures to actively engage workers in maintaining their physical health and safety.

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