When we refreshed our corporate values in 2018 to reflect our core beliefs, there was never a doubt that staying safe would remain a top priority.
Given the nature of our business, our employees face numerous hazards while performing their jobs. That is why we continue to instill a culture that values safety through the work of our safety committees, company policies, and training and ongoing awareness campaigns.
Our Journey to Zero is not just a slogan or program but is a commitment that all employees will return home from work injury free every day. It is about building a safer work environment by putting safety at the forefront of everything we do. Starting with top leadership, we continue to actively demonstrate support for safety throughout the organization. We strive to advance a safety culture through strategic behavioral safety programs and initiatives that encourage employees to take personal responsibility for their safety and the safety of others.
Our employee safety performance ranks in the top-quartile for our industry. We have reduced OSHA recordable injuries by 55% and injuries classified as Days Away, Restricted and Transferred by 59% since embarking on our Journey to Zero.
All contract employees receive safety training from their employers as a requirement of working with Xcel Energy. Plus, job briefings and job-site safety reviews occur daily. The total safety incident rate for contract workers in 2018 was down by almost 30%, even though the number of hours that contractors worked nearly doubled.
We conducted Safety Leadership Training for all employees who are most at risk because they work directly with the delivery of electricity and natural gas.
We continued to encourage employees to share their safety experiences and to learn from one another. Through a special campaign, we increased our near-miss sharing by 150% over 2017.
The American Gas Association recognized our annual performance with the 2018 AGA Safety Achievement Award for excellence in employee safety.
Our Journey to Zero commitment entered into its ninth year in 2018 and continued to make significant progress in keeping employees safe. Although, as the name of this effort implies, we won’t be satisfied until 100% of employees go home injury free.
Xcel Energy has 21 corporate safety policies in place to address occupational safety and health issues. These policies apply to all company bargaining and non-bargaining unit employees, as well as contractors. 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. All employees are empowered to stop work if they see unsafe practices
Our corporate safety organization manages implementation of regulatory compliance, provides technical consultation to business areas, tracks and communicates the company's safety performance, and fosters our safety philosophy and core value. The vice president of Safety and Workforce Relations leads this organization and reports to the chief human resources officer, who reports directly to the president, chairman and CEO. Xcel Energy’s Operations, Nuclear, Environmental and Safety committee for the board of directors oversees the company’s safety strategy and performance.
There are three key components to our safety and health culture that include:
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.
We continued a number of important safety initiatives in 2018, while also launching new initiatives to help keep employees safe.
Our 24/7 Safety campaigns focus on maintaining a safety mindset around the clock, helping employees to be safe both on and off the job. The 2018 campaign focused on intervening when you see something unsafe and some of the common household and public hazards to watch out for.
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs or strains and sprains and cumulative trauma disorders) are the leading type of injury at Xcel Energy, with sprains and strains representing more than 41% of our injuries. Several ergonomics training modules were initiated in 2018 to help improve this, including the Eyes on Ergo training module, Ergo Tips pocket guides and videos, prevention exercises, and a Five-week Workplace Athlete Challenge.
Sharing near misses with coworkers provides a learning opportunity that can prevent similar situations in the future. To encourage employees to share their stories, we do not pursue discipline for employees who report near misses, and we carried out a campaign in 2018 that included video testimonials, posters and articles.
After recognizing certain injury trends, company leaders set out to connect with employees to hear their views and suggestions about safety. Three safety blitzes were held in 2018 and a commitment was made by leaders to spend more time visiting with employees in 2019, as well.
To help reduce serious life-changing incidents, the Safety Leadership Training program was conducted in 2018 for all at-risk employees. The program was designed to transform how employees view their role in safety because everyone is a leader when it comes to safety.
Xcel Energy’s Safety department hosted a series of events in 2018 offering employees’ families an opportunity to ask their loved ones to work safely on camera. The employees were then given the opportunity to make a safety promise on camera. These requests and promises were shared in various formats, encouraging everyone to make a personal commitment to their safety and the safety of those around them.
Slips, trips and falls are avoidable, yet each year they make up a significant number of Xcel Energy's OSHA recordable injuries. We enhanced our Slips, Trips and Falls Toolkit in 2018 to include even more videos, training and guides detailing strategies for these incidents and minimizing the chance of injury when falling.
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