Employee Safety

PG&E’s employee safety strategy is designed to reflect that our employees hold the key to their safety and that of their co-workers. Employees who are healthy and who work safely lay the foundation for high-performing teams and organizations, a prerequisite for PG&E’s equally significant commitment to the safety of our customers and the general public.

Last year, we significantly reduced on-the-job injuries as well as the numbers of lost workdays and motor vehicle incidents, extending a trend of improvements over recent years. However, the fact is that much work remains on PG&E's safety journey. The company's safety performance is still not on par with that of leaders in our industry, a fact tragically underscored by the loss of two employees as a result of on-the-job incidents in 2010. These serious events have strengthened our resolve as we continue to embed safety into our operational practices and our culture.

PG&E’s goal when it comes to employee safety is simple: zero employee injuries. How we plan to get there starts with our values, which promote open and honest communication and accountability in all we do, most clearly in creating a safe working environment. It extends to the tools, training and programs PG&E provides throughout the year so that our employees have the requisite knowledge, skills and support to work safely.

Creating a total safety culture at PG&E begins and ends with the 20,000 employees who provide safe and reliable gas and electric service to approximately 15 million Californians. PG&E employees do it every day, which is why our employees often have the best ideas for how to do it more safely.

A Total Safety Culture

Comprised of frontline employees across our service area, grassroots safety teams are creating a culture of safety accountability at PG&E. At grassroots meetings, union-represented and management employees share ideas, partner to come up with effective solutions and bring the company closer to our goal of zero injuries.

Promoting a Culture of Safety:
Close Call Reporting

Last year, the Utility and the IBEW Local 1245 agreed to pilot a joint program with maintenance and construction employees who work on transmission lines and substations, incorporating safety principles from the Federal Aviation Administration‘s Aviation Safety Action Program.

The objective: create an environment where reporting human and organizational performance events is encouraged to help prevent other employees from making the same error and to avoid future injuries. The intent is to treat a human error as a learning opportunity.

To advance our shared commitment to safety, PG&E and the union agreed not to take positive discipline action, such as written reminders or noting the incident in a personnel file, when human errors are reported through the program, provided that injury, equipment damage, customer impact or a violation of PG&E‘s values has not occurred.

Close calls can be reported anonymously through a special hotline, self-reported to an employee‘s supervisor or made through the IBEW hotline. In all cases, the report includes what happened, how it happened and what should be done to prevent recurrence.

In 2010, we increased our emphasis on the critical role that employee feedback plays in identifying and resolving potential problems, reinforcing our expectation that all employees feel empowered to speak up, stop a job and proactively address safety issues.

Recent efforts in that direction include designing and implementing an observation-based safety program with field audits to identify and correct potential safety issues before they occur; providing leaders with proactive information they can use to coach, guide and counsel co-workers in a field setting; and expanding our grassroots safety teams to additional organizations throughout the company.

Spearheaded by the IBEW Local 1245, “Hold the Pull” is a grassroots, employee-driven peer effort to eliminate safety incidents on job sites. Put together by linemen for linemen, the initiative, in the words of the Local 1245, “demands all members to challenge their view of safety and to place the responsibility for safety where it belongs—with us and our co-workers.”

“Hold the Pull” is a common lineman‘s term that means, in effect, “Stop everything now, identify the problem, clear the problem, and resume the work.” When “Hold the Pull” is used in the field, it requires that everyone stop, address the serious problem and work together to resolve the issue. “Hold the Pull” recognizes that it takes everyone, from the newest to the most tenured lineman, to work safely, prevent injuries and save lives.

“Hold the Pull” and all of our other grassroots safety efforts are increasingly engaging our workforce and creating an environment where working safely is everyone‘s responsibility.

Zero In On Safety

At the heart of our safety efforts is our Zero In On Safety program, which includes tools, initiatives and information to help employees identify, evaluate and control hazards and safety issues, and improve overall safety performance in a proactive way. In 2010, PG&E conducted a comprehensive assessment of the program to identify strengths and opportunities moving forward.

The foundation for Zero In On Safety will continue to be our Injury and Illness Prevention Program, which is guided by four central tennets: identifying hazards, evaluating hazards, controlling hazards and then evaluating those controls. The Zero In On Safety program is designed to integrate those standards across the business and to embed safety more deeply into our operational practices and our culture.

As a company, we also continue to adhere to the “Rules to Live By”—essential requirements that, when followed rigorously, help protect against the potential for injury and the loss of life.

PG&E’s Rules to Live By

PG&E’s Rules to Live By

  1. We will protect and ensure public safety while working and driving.
  2. We will wear appropriate life-saving personal protective equipment.
  3. We will follow all Electrical Safety, Testing and Grounding Rules.
  4. We will follow all Clearance and Energy Lock-out Rules.
  5. We will follow all Confined Space Rules.
  6. We will follow all Suspended Loads Rules.
  7. We will follow all Safety at Heights Rules.

Providing Training to Strengthen Job Skills

Photo: Linda Cicero

To work safely, our employees need the right tools and training. PG&E Academy, our in-house instructional and education center, plays a key role in teaching job procedures and creating a playbook that all employees can follow.

Additionally, preparing for and understanding how to resolve emergencies is vital to PG&E’s overall safety goals and is critical to our business operations. As a result, we place an emphasis on ensuring that employees are trained and equipped to do so promptly and effectively.

PG&E also continues to enhance its life-safety program for employees in office locations, which includes fire drills and earthquake exercises and establishes designated floor wardens and emergency team members led by a life-safety director across numerous buildings. Employee volunteers complete training on a variety of topics, including first aid, the use of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), CPR, protection against bloodborne pathogens and proper use of fire extinguishers with an emphasis on high-rise emergency procedures.

The courses allow team members to maintain a two-year certification for first aid and CPR/AED, and team-based exercises enable employees to work through various emergency situations together. In 2010, 500 employees participated in these courses in our corporate headquarters and across our service area. Moving forward, we will continue to expand our emergency team member training to additional company locations.

Measuring Our Performance

In 2010, PG&E used three key metrics to assess progress on safety performance: our OSHA Recordable Rate, Lost Workday Case Rate and Motor Vehicle Incident Rate. (These metrics are defined below.) We set aggressive targets for safety in 2010, aiming for a 15 percent reduction in each of these measures, compared to a 2009 baseline.

Our Continued Focus on Motor Vehicle Safety

PG&E employees logged millions of miles in company vehicles in 2010—a clear indication of just how essential the safe operation of our large fleet of vehicles is to the company's employee and public safety goals.

Last year, we continued our motor vehicle safety program with an increased emphasis on driver training and an enhanced curriculum. Participants successfully completed a formal, one-day refresher driver training program, which involves two hours of classroom instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel training. Other activities included completion of online refresher driver training, improved tracking and reporting and ensuring all company vehicles have a 1-800 “Am I Driving Safely?” decal affixed to the back of the vehicle.

Measured against that threshold, PG&E’s safety results last year were mixed. We reduced the OSHA Recordable Rate by nearly 23 percent, our Lost Workday Case Rate by more than 10 percent and our Motor Vehicle Incident Rate by more than 14 percent. We also were successful in reducing our total number of Lost Workdays by more than five percent. Total Lost Workday Cases and Total OSHA Recordables declined as well, by 12 and 25 percent, respectively.

As in past years, slips, trips and sprains represented the majority of injuries sustained by our employees in 2010. Serious injuries—particularly those leaving employees unable to fulfill their job responsibilities—continue to occur at unacceptable rates.

To address the former, PG&E rolled out a comprehensive “stretch and flex” program last year designed to help employees limber and loosen muscles before beginning their job duties. We have also placed increased emphasis on the “tailboarding” process, in which crews discuss the job at hand, identify and remove any potential hazards and coordinate the responsibilities of all employees on-site. Both initiatives played an important role in the double-digit decrease in OSHA recordable incidents recorded in 2010.

Other important steps we took in 2010 included:

  1. Developing a formal root cause analysis of safety incidents to identify the causal factors and implement controls to prevent re-occurrence of incidents.
  2. Enhancing our motor vehicle safety program to educate drivers on the critical issues associated with backing-up incidents, striking stationary objects, blind spots, following distances and hazards when parked at field locations.

The table below provides complete safety statistics for 2008 through 2010.

Safety Results for 2008 through 2010 (Utility) 2008 2009 2010
Total Lost Workdays1 32,304 28,959 27,477
Total Lost Workday Cases2 142 89 78
Total Lost Workday Case Rate3 0.69 0.44 0.395
Total OSHA Recordables4 699 494 386
OSHA Recordable Rate5 3.40 2.45 1.955

1 Total Lost Workdays is an internal PG&E metric that counts the number of workdays lost in the current year due to occupational injury or illness for all years of injury (current and all prior years). The number of workdays lost due to occupational injury or illness that occurred in the current year are as follows: 2008: 5,801; 2009: 3,757; 2010: 4,130.

2 Total Lost Workday Cases is the number of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases that (1) satisfy OSHA requirements for recordability, (2) occur in the current year and (3) result in at least one day away from work.

3 The Lost Workday Case Rate measures how frequently new Lost Workday Cases occur for every 200,000 hours worked, or for approximately every 100 employees.

4 Total OSHA Recordables is the number of injuries and illnesses that meet OSHA requirements for recordability, i.e., (1) are work-related, (2) are new cases and (3) meet one or more OSHA general recording criteria.

5 The OSHA Recordable Rate measures how frequently occupational injuries and illnesses occur for every 200,000 hours worked, or for approximately every 100 employees.

The following table provides motor vehicle safety statistics for 2008 through 2010.

Motor Vehicle Safety Statistics (Utility)

1 Total Motor Vehicle Incidents is an internal PG&E metric counting motor vehicle incidents that could have been reasonably prevented by the PG&E driver.

2 The Motor Vehicle Incident Rate measures how frequently motor vehicle incidents occur for every 1,000,000 miles driven.


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