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Employee Safety

Safety is first in our list of corporate values and for good reason. Given the nature of our business, Xcel Energy employees face numerous hazards while performing their jobs. None of us are immune to accidents or injury; however, we are committed to sending all employees home without injury every day. We track the safety performance of 325 workgroups, and of those groups, 75 percent have gone one year or more without an OSHA recordable injury; 90 percent have gone one year or more without a Lost Work Day injury. While recorded injuries were down 10 percent compared to 2012, we need to remember safety is about more than numbers. It is about people. We are working to provide the policies, training and awareness campaigns to help people stay safe.

OSHA Recordable Incident Rate (in days)
  EEI Top Quartile Actual Goal
2013 -- 1.24 1.42
2012 1.24 1.47 1.55
2011 0.99 1.68 1.74
2010 1.00 1.90 1.99
2009 1.19 2.11 2.23
2008 1.39 2.42 2.35
2007 1.61 2.61 2.19
2006 1.80 2.53 2.53
2005 2.04 2.76  
2004 2.09 3.40  
2003 2.39 3.62  

We recorded 155 OSHA recordable injuries in 2013, 18 fewer injuries than in 2012. Strains and sprains continue to be the leading injury type, with lacerations and fractures as the next most frequent injury type.

Days Away, Restricted & Transferred Incident Rate (DART)
  EEI Top Quartile Actual Goal
2013 -- 0.68 --
2012 0.66 0.83 --
2011 0.55 1.02 0.98
2010 0.49 1.07 1.17
2009 0.58 1.21 1.33
2008 0.59 1.41 1.39
2007 0.79 1.41  
2006 0.79 1.42  
2005 0.93 1.39  
2004 1.02 1.79  
2003 1.06 2.01  

We recorded 85 DART injuries in 2013, 13 fewer injuries than in 2012. DART measures the more severe types of injuries.

Employee Work-Related Fatalities
2013 1
2012 0
2011 1
2010 0
2009 0
2008 0
2007 0
2006 0
2005 0
2004 0
2003 0

The chart below reflects safety performance for contractors working on operation and maintenance, as well as capital projects.

2013 Contractor Safety Performance
  Hours Worked # of OSHA recordable injuries Total case incident rate
2013 4,024,229 60 2.98
2012 6,903,078 129 3.74
2011 6,798,655 126 3.71

As a comparison, the national average occupational incident rate for construction is 3.7.

Policies and Training

We have 21 corporate safety policies in place to address occupational safety and health issues. These policies apply to both bargaining and non-bargaining unit employees of Xcel Energy, as well as contractors of Xcel Energy 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 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.

Within each business area, we verify that OSHA-required written programs are current and maintained at our facilities. Prior to starting a job at an Xcel Energy operating facility or on electric and natural gas transmission and distribution lines and equipment, employees must be thoroughly briefed on site-specific hazards and protective measures; all employees or crews working on the job must be identified; and emergency procedures must be put into place. Finally, we establish a system of hazard analysis, which includes hazard identification and control, in each business area and communicate this system to all affected employees.
Safety Committees
Our safety committees are organized and represented by both bargaining unit employees and management. The expectations for these committees are outlined by management and periodically audited to track progress and effectiveness. Managers in each business area provide support for safety committee findings and recommendations that align with our corporate values.
Each business area develops training plans annually to include OSHA-required training and required elements of our Corporate Safety and Industrial Hygiene programs. We maintain thorough records of all training, including recording the names and dates employees who complete required safety training.

We provide effective safety and health communications in various formats, including verbal instructions, written documents and posters, safety committee meetings, multimedia presentations such as video- and computer-based training, and use of our intranet system. 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.


In 2013, we entered the fourth year of our ambitious Journey to Zero 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:

  • Demonstrating support for safety improvements, starting with top leadership
  • Implementing a strategic approach aligning our efforts to advance our safety culture
  • Ensuring all safety efforts focus on common goals, making sense of all activities we do
  • Ensuring that employees take personal responsibility for their safety and the safety of others
  • Actively driving culture change through behavioral safety program and initiatives
  • Implementing specific business-area safety plans focusing on four aspects:
    1. Leadership effectiveness: Line of sight to executive levels, expectation setting, participation in safety leadership at all levels (including working foreman and crew leaders)
    2. Employee engagement: Taking responsibility for personal safety and the safety of crews, maximizing impact of safety teams, ensuring employees are engaged, effective and working together
    3. Incident prevention: Providing the right personal protective equipment, increasing awareness, communication and safety meetings, taking a proactive approach, outlining medical management, leveraging information, learning and insights
    4. Bargaining unit engagement: Engaging union leadership to be active in safety programs and improvements

In 2013 we initiated five new safety campaigns and continued with our ergonomics and 24/7 safety campaigns, as outlined below.

I’m a Professional – Expect Safe Behavior

This campaign focused on the pride of our workforce, reminding them that part of being a professional is accomplishing work in the safest manner possible.

Job Briefing Improvement

One of the most important things we do is to complete a thorough job briefing with employees working on a project. This initiative provided some additional tools to assist foremen and managers in improving the quality of these job briefings.

Fall Protection on Substation Transformers

A team of operations managers, supervisors and safety professionals were put together to determine what can be done to prevent falls when working on transformers. Through a series of meetings and discussions about fall protection, best approaches were determined. Kits with the necessary equipment were purchased, and craft personnel who work on transformers were trained.

Corporate Services Safety Priority Team

This team was chartered to actively involve employees in safety, not only at work for themselves and their co-workers, but also off the job for their families. The team will review incidents, be involved in safety campaigns and increase the working knowledge of safety roles and responsibilities.

Drivers Safety Campaign

Due to an increase in vehicle incidents over the past several years, Xcel Energy decided to initiate a Drivers Safety campaign to improve our performance in this area. The campaign was developed in 2013 and will launch in 2014.

Ergonomics Campaign

Sprains and strains continue to be the leading type of injury at Xcel Energy, resulting in approximately 45 percent of all injuries and illnesses on an annual basis. Ergonomics sub-teams focus on three areas: education and training; tools and equipment; and policies and procedures. Two ergonomics specialists were added to our staff in 2011 and continued in 2013 to assist with training and education, assessments and sub-team work. Campaign goals are aggressive and include an overall injury reduction of 30 percent by 2014.

24/7 Safety Campaign

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. In 2013 we focused on two campaigns. The first centered on cultivating a lifetime commitment to protecting hearing, and the second focused on “playing it safe” during summer activities by wearing safety equipment, such as helmets and eye protection.

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. In 2013, the following employees received these awards:

Recipient Position Location
Becky Jones Administrative Assistant III Lubbock, Texas
Billy Harris Line Working Forman Borger, Texas
Eric Spielmann Lineman St. Cloud, Minn.
Grant Orrock Lineman St. Cloud, Minn.
Jason Gonzales Meter Reader Alamosa, Colo.
Russell Crandall Line Working Foreman Amarillo, Texas
David Ross Apprentice Lineman Hereford, Texas
Jerry Walker Serviceman Hereford, Texas
Ryland Phelps Serviceman Hereford, Texas
B. Scott Morrison Supervisor Supply Chain Operations Henderson, Colo.
Shane Wiescamp Field Credit Representative Pueblo, Colo.
Travis Gulbranson Foreman Line Construction Shorewood, Minn.
Mathew Weber Foreman Line Construction Shorewood, Minn.