Safety and Workforce Relations
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, 76 percent have gone one year or more without an OSHA recordable injury. While recorded injuries were down 21 percent compared to 2013, 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.
|EEI Top Quartile||Actual||Goal|
|Xcel Energy recorded 123 OSHA recordable injuries in 2014, 32 fewer injuries than in 2013. Strains and sprains continue to be the leading injury type, with lacerations and fractures as the next most frequent injury type.|
|EEI Top Quartile||Actual|
|Xcel Energy recorded 63 DART injuries in 2014, 22 fewer injuries than in 2013. DART measures the more severe types of injuries.|
|Hours Worked||# of OSHA recordable injuries||Total case incident rate|
|For 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.
- Communication: Within each business area, we verify that OSHA-required written programs are current and maintained at our facilities. Employees must be thoroughly briefed on site-specific hazards and protective measures prior to starting a job at an Xcel Energy operating facility or on electric and natural gas transmission and distribution lines and equipment. 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.
- Training: 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 online. 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 2014, we entered the fifth 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:
- 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:
- Leadership effectiveness: Line of sight to executive levels; expectation setting; participation in safety leadership at all levels (including foremen and crew leaders)
- 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
- 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
- Bargaining unit engagement: Engaging union leadership to be active in safety programs and improvements
In 2014, we continued a number of important safety campaigns while also launching a number of new initiatives to help keep employees safe.
24/7 Work Injury Helpline and Nurse Pilot Project
Xcel Energy piloted an Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) program in 2014 to provide medical consultation for operations employees experiencing non-emergency work related injuries. Employees injured at work can contact an onsite OHN or a 24/7 Work Injury Helpline for help assessing their symptoms and recommendations for the best course of action.
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. In 2014, we focused on distracted driving. Employees were encouraged to pledge to avoid distractions while driving as part of a U.S. Department of Transportation 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 assist with training and education, assessments and sub-team work.
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.
OSHA's Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Standard
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised the construction standard for electric power line work, making it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard. The final rule became effective in July 2014. Xcel Energy launched an internal campaign with summaries and resources to explain revisions to standards to managers and employees.
Office and Non-Operational Area Safety Programs
Safety guides and resources were improved and made available for office workers and non-operational employees in 2014.
Rules to Live By
Each month the Rules to Live By campaign focuses on reminding employees about a specific safety behavior, such as following seat belt safety or wearing personal protective equipment.
All safety news items are now aggregated in a single weekly communications available through an easily accessible, online safety news hub.
Who gives you permission to get hurt?
Injuries don’t just impact those who are injured—they also affect families, friends and coworkers. The campaign encouraged employees to think about this question before taking any risks.
Xcel Energy provided employees with safety tips and reminders to stay safe through the holidays and cold weather months.
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.
|Albert Correa||Journeyman Lineman—Serviceman||Hereford, Texas|
|Jesse C Perez||Line Apprentice 4th Year||Seminole, Texas|
|Lonnie Todd Morris||Field Operator||Meeker, Colorado|
|Lynn A Dreher||Lead Service Fitter B||Lakewood, Colorado|
|Randy D Oehlert||Working Foreman B||Denver, Colorado|
|Rich Padilla||Field Operations Supervisor I||Lakewood, Colorado|
|Charles Garza||Senior Storekeeper||Arvada, Colorado|
|Donald R Goble||HU/IS Corporate Functional Area Manager||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Christopher (Troy) Myers||Associate Designer||Montevideo, Minnesota|
|Mark Frikken||Iron Worker Foreman||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Michele Huset||Billing Support Analyst||Roseville, Minnesota|
|Deanna Maslowski||Billing Specialist;||Roseville, Minnesota|
|William Sconone||Meter Reader 1st 6 Months||Pueblo, Colorado|
|Austin McCracken||Groundman 1st Year||Golden, Colorado|
|Marissa Montoya||Project Manager||Denver, Colorado|
|Jose Campos||Designer Thereafter||Denver, Colorado|
Xcel Energy is committed to providing all employees with a safe, rewarding workplace that values their contributions and ensures fair treatment. We respect our employees’ right to organize if desired, and approximately half of our workforce is currently represented by unions.
While each collective bargaining agreement is negotiated with a specific local union, we include equal opportunity clauses in all our bargaining contracts. We also operate in compliance with the policies of the National Labor Relations Board, the statutes of the National Labor Relations Act and the guidance of the federal Department of Labor.
Xcel Energy recognizes that all parties benefit by coming together to achieve mutual goals, so we meet at least monthly with our unions to discuss new and ongoing issues. Employee safety is a mutual focus for both bargaining units and the company. Bargaining unit employees fully support and participate in the company’s safety advisory councils, committees, training and other programs.
Interim bargaining has been used for the past 16 years to improve union relations and promote collaboration on business challenges that impact our operations and workforce. For instance, we frequently work on issues such as staffing plans for operational changes associated with large projects like Clean Air-Clean Jobs in Colorado. We also hold regular meetings between management and labor unions to address grievances and avoid arbitration when possible.
Xcel Energy is still negotiating with the unions representing our employees in Colorado, Texas and New Mexico. Those contract disputes are scheduled to be resolved through interest arbitration in the later part of 2015, if not resolved through mutual agreement earlier.