Workplace Safety


Number of employee leaders who completed our Safety Leadership Workshop in 2012, designed to further support a safety-first climate

PG&E has taken a number of steps to ensure that our employees and contractors are returning home safely after a shift or a day at the office. These include investing in new safety training, encouraging dialogue to learn where we have opportunities to improve and strengthening our operational processes to reduce potential hazards and employee injuries.

Building a Stronger Safety Climate

We are committed to creating a work environment that supports and encourages our employees to always put safety first. This includes fostering a climate of openness, where employees and contractors feel comfortable speaking up about safety concerns, proactively looking for potential safety hazards and stopping any unsafe acts.

A participant in PG&E’s Safety Leadership Workshop

Participants in PG&E’s Safety Leadership Workshops strategized on how to enhance workplace safety on their teams.

Instilling this sense of ownership and empowerment throughout our workforce represents a foundational shift in how we treat employee and contractor safety at PG&E. To help us achieve this, last year we launched a new mandatory Safety Leadership Workshop program for all leaders in PG&E. The workshop is designed to introduce all leaders to a new set of safety principles developed to better embed safety into our operational practices and culture. By mid-2013, we expect all of PG&E’s leaders to have completed the workshop.

We are also training supervisors to manage safety incidents differently, to promote incident reporting and continuous improvement. When an incident occurs, we look to understand what happened and the underlying causes, with a focus on opportunities for coaching and learning, rather than discipline. Supervisors focus on what they can learn from the findings, change processes or past practices as necessary and look at training opportunities for our employees.

Discipline will only be considered when employees act in a reckless manner; demonstrate a pattern of carelessness or non-compliance; or put themselves, their co-workers or the public at risk by intentionally violating PG&E’s Keys To Life or Code of Conduct.

Other steps designed to help create a strong safety culture include:

  • An increased emphasis on adhering to established work procedures and improving process safety.
  • Providing hands-on training and continuing education programs that enable new and tenured employees to learn new technologies and methods to ensure quality and safety.
  • Implementing an industrial athlete and ergonomics initiative that will provide field personnel with tools, techniques, training and support to reduce sprains and strains, as well as causes of cumulative stress on the body.
  • Holding internal emergency drills with the PG&E emergency response team to simulate how PG&E responds to an emergency.

In 2013, we are expanding our near hit program to encourage employees to share near hits and safety incidents and promote a learning and trust-based safety climate, an approach used successfully by many safety-leading companies.

We are also introducing a safety engagement program to provide a forum for open dialogue between leaders and employees about how to work safely and reduce risks and hazards on the job.

Measuring our Performance

In 2012, PG&E assessed progress on employee safety performance using two key indicators: the Lost Workday Case Rate and Preventable Motor Vehicle Incident Rate. (These metrics are defined below.)

We set aggressive targets for safety in 2012, including a 12 percent reduction in the Lost Workday Case Rate compared with 2011 results. We fell well short of this target, reflecting the fact that our workforce continues to experience a significant number of serious injuries, in addition to sprains and strains.

We also targeted a 7 percent reduction in the Preventable Motor Vehicle Incident Rate last year, compared with 2011. Our results outperformed this target, and we now rank in the first quartile in our peer group. However, tragically, those results included a motor vehicle incident that claimed the life of a PG&E employee. Together with the serious injuries noted above, this loss reinforced that we continue to have much work ahead to further improve on-the-job safety.

The table below provides complete PG&E employee safety statistics for 2010 through 2012:

Safety Results for 2010 through 2012 (Utility)
  2010 2011 2012
Total Lost Workdays1 27,477 25,635 22,513
Total Lost Workday Cases2 78 57 68
Total Lost Workday Case Rate3 0.395 0.273 0.319
Total OSHA Recordables4 386 377 359
OSHA Recordable Rate5 1.955 1.803 1.695
  • 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).
  • 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.

Sharing the road with the public is an important responsibility and we continue to prioritize motor vehicle safety. Last year, consistent with our focus on prevention, we targeted preventable motor vehicle incidents—those incidents that could have been reasonably prevented by the PG&E driver—and completed industry benchmarking to identify root causes and best practices.

In 2013, we adjusted our focus to zero in on more serious preventable motor vehicle incidents. This approach will help us develop effective prevention strategies for incidents that pose the greatest risk. These strategies include ensuring consistency across our motor vehicle safety and training resources, and piloting an in-vehicle coaching initiative, leveraging new technology to give drivers real-time audible feedback on their driving behaviors.

The following chart provides motor vehicle safety statistics for 2010 through 2012:

Motor Vehicle Safety Statistics (Utility)

TIP: Click on the items in the chart legend to selectively remove or restore chart data.

  • 1 Refers to an internal PG&E metric counting motor vehicle incidents that could have been reasonably prevented by the PG&E driver.
  • 2 Refers to the number of serious preventable motor vehicle incidents that that could have been reasonably prevented by the PG&E driver. Measures only those incidents considered to be serious, rather than all incidents that were otherwise preventable.
  • 3 Measures how frequently motor vehicle incidents occur for every 1,000,000 miles driven.
  • 4 Measures how frequently serious preventable motor vehicle incidents occur for every 1,000,000 miles driven.

Contractor Safety

Like most utilities, PG&E works with a range of contractors who play key roles in helping us meet our operational goals. We recognize that, as we work to improve PG&E’s safety culture and performance, we must also ensure that the work performed by our contractors meets the same standards and expectations to which we hold our PG&E teams.

As a result, our new safety strategy includes an emphasis on strengthening contractor safety. The focus of this effort is a newly established formal contractor safety program. The program aims to ensure we are employing contractor partners who share a strong safety commitment. It also seeks to ensure that our contractors are operating in accord with PG&E’s safety standards and expectations.

While it is clear that there is much work to be done in this area, we are making progress. Initiatives underway in 2013 include the implementation of a pre-qualification process to certify contractors’ safety practices, as well as the use of on-site safety performance inspections and post-performance evaluations.