Customer Support

Employee Safety

Our Approach

Our Journey to Zero injuries is not just a slogan or a program, but an Xcel Energy core value. It is a commitment that all employees will return home from work without injury every day. Given the nature of our business, our employees face numerous hazards while performing their jobs. We've come a long way on our journey so far, reducing our injury rate from 2009 to 2016, when 79 percent of work groups went injury free our second lowest year ever. These numbers signal a 50 percent improvement in the company's safety performance over that period of time. While we didn't make our 2016 safety target, we still made sure the second fewest employees went home injured in company history. We are continually working to provide the policies, training, and awareness campaigns to help employees and the public stay safe.

 

Annual Employee Safety Results

Xcel Energy recorded 121 OSHA recordable injuries in 2016, 10 more injuries than in 2015. Strains and sprains continue to be the leading injury type, resulting in approximately 41 percent of all injuries and illnesses on an annual basis. Lacerations, fractures and eye foreign bodies are the next most frequent injury types. We track safety performance of 344 workgroups, and of those groups, 78 percent have gone one year or more without an OSHA recordable injury.

In 2016, we also recorded 68 injuries classified as Days Away, Restricted and Transferred or DART—nine more of the injuries than occurred in 2015. These are incidents in which there are one or more lost days, or one or more restricted days, or one that resulted in an employee transferring to a different job within the company. Fortunately, there were no fatalities among Xcel Energy employees and contractors in 2016.

All contract employees receive safety training from their employers as a requirement of working with Xcel Energy. Job briefings and job-site safety reviews occur daily. In 2016, our contractors recorded 62 injuries while working more than a million hours.

Policies and Training 

We have 21 corporate safety policies in place to address occupational safety and health issues. These policies apply to all Xcel Energy bargaining and non-bargaining unit employees, as well as contractors, as applicable. Our policies cover a wide range of topics—from working in confined and enclosed spaces to preparing for and responding to emergency situations.

As part of our corporate values, and to protect our employees and the public, working safely is the first consideration while planning or performing work. It is the role of Xcel Energy management to foster, develop, implement and provide training and communication about safety programs that will help reduce occupational injuries and illnesses at work. We expect employees to report unsafe acts, behaviors or conditions to management in a timely manner so that we may address these safety concerns. Any retaliation against an employee who, in good faith, reports a safety violation or suspected violation is strictly prohibited.

The Corporate Safety, Field and Energy Supply Safety and Training, and Contractor Safety departments—all under the leadership of the vice president of Safety and Workforce Relations—are responsible for overseeing implementation of regulatory compliance, providing technical consultation to business areas, tracking and communicating the company's safety performance, and fostering our safety philosophy and core value.

There are three key components to our safety and health culture: communication, safety committees and training.

We provide effective safety and health communications in various formats, including verbal instructions, written documents and posters, safety committee meetings and multimedia presentations, such as video and computer-based training. Through these various media, all employees have access to required safety and health training, policies, programs and safety manuals, as well as federal or state required communications. All Xcel Energy employees are expected to actively participate in the company's safety and health training and communications program.

Safety Campaigns

In 2016, we entered the seventh year of our ambitious Journey to Zero workplace safety campaign. Journey to Zero is about creating a safer work environment by putting safety at the forefront of everything we do. Our objectives include:

We continued a number of important safety campaigns in 2016, while also launching new initiatives to help keep employees safe.

24/7 Safety Campaign: Bringing Safety Home

Xcel Energy's 24/7 Safety campaigns are focused on maintaining a safety mindset around the clock. We want our employees to be safe both on and off the job. Xcel Energy helps employees to stay safe 24/7 by providing home safety information through several avenues, such as the weekly published Safety News and the employee news magazine. The 2016 campaigns focused on wellness and personal/cyber security.

Employee Safety Suggestion Contest

The Journey to Zero Employee Safety Suggestion Contest was created in 2016 to encourage all employees to share their ideas for improving workplace safety through innovative process, tool or safety system improvements. Suggestions that identified specific problems and proposed viable solutions that would enhance Xcel Energy’s safe working conditions, efficiency and effectiveness were received in 2016 and later judged in 2017 by a panel of safety experts, with 12 employees, or groups of employees, receiving a total of $17,500 in prizes for their selected winning submissions.

Ergonomics Campaign

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs, or strains and sprains and cumulative trauma disorders) are the leading type of injury at Xcel Energy. Sprains and strains represent more than 40 percent of our injuries within Xcel Energy. The following Ergonomics Training modules were initiated in 2016:

Job Briefings

One of the most important things we do is to complete thorough job briefings with employees working on projects. We have improved the quality of our job briefings with some additional tools to assist foremen and managers.

Safety Intervention and Stop Work Responsibility

The Safety Intervention and Stop Work Responsibility is fundamental to ensuring everyone goes home safe each and every day. It’s something we all need to re-commit to each year, which is why we require a refresher training program. In 2016, the Safety department updated the Safety Intervention and Stop Work Responsibility refresher training created to ensure that all employees watch out for each other and understand they have the authority and obligation to stop anyone’s work that if they see something that’s unsafe.

Safety News

The Safety News continues to be an effective tool for educating and informing employees about current safety topics. The publication provides all employees with weekly safety information and near miss reviews, as well as findings and lessons learned from accident investigations.

Supervisors' Safety Development Program

The Safety department completed pilot testing in all jurisdictions in 2016 for a new National Safety Council-accredited training program called the Supervisors' Safety Development Program. The program is designed to improve safety leadership by helping supervisors and managers recognize safety as part of their responsibilities, while equipping them with the knowledge, leadership skills, and methods necessary to become effective safety leaders and advocates. Beginning in 2017, the Safety department will deliver one class quarterly in three operating companies, consisting of two full days of training for Operations leaders. The program will train supervisors and managers to incorporate best safety practices into their daily management activities by requiring them to demonstrate their knowledge and skills during the training.

Life Sustaining Awards

The Xcel Energy Life Sustaining Awards are given to employees who go beyond the call of duty and save or attempt to save the life of another.

2016 Recipients of Life Sustaining Awards

RecipientPositionLocation
Dennis Buchanan Plant Director Amarillo, TX
Kim Beth Buchanan (spouse) Spouse of Dennis Amarillo, TX
Robert Racine Mechanic Splicer Minneapolis, MN
Jenny Borgerson Gas Compliance QA/QC Spec. St. Paul, MN
Jeffery Matti Troubleman Boulder, CO
Mike Miller Foreman Boulder, CO
Doug Scott Lineman Boulder, CO
Kevin Victor Journeyman Service Lineman Roswell, NM
Gary Schmidt Line Crew Foreman Sioux Falls, SD
Lydia Jenkins Credit & Collection Clerk Amarillo, TX
Eric Dorschner CCC Team Lead Newport, MN
Nicholas Hince Line Crew Forman Newport, MN
Dena Stai Apprentice Lineman Step 8 Eau Claire, MN
Breanna Martinez Senior Associate Ft. Collins, CO
Janeese Worley Associate 2nd 6 month Ft. Collins, CO

Additional Resources

Find employee safety results for the past 10 years in the Performance Summary (PDF).

Learn about our public safety efforts as well as our people and culture and employee benefits.

Employee Safety (PDF)

Energy Saving Tip

Rather than crank up your heat in the winter, keep your thermostat at a moderate level and bundle up. (Who doesn't love fuzzy slippers?)

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Gas Meter Safety

Keep your natural gas meter dry and clear of snow and ice at all times to avoid the potential for dangerous indoor natural gas buildup.

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