Workplace Safety

5,000+Number of PG&E leaders who attended mandatory Safety Leadership Workshops

We are working to create a new conversation around safety at PG&E—one that is open, ongoing and above all focused on learning and making continuous improvements. We are investing in safety training, deploying improved technologies, encouraging dialogue and leader-in-the-field initiatives to identify opportunities to improve, and strengthening our operational processes to reduce potential hazards and employee injuries.

Our Approach

PG&E has taken a number of steps to ensure that our employees and contractors return home safely at the end of the work day. We have increased communication and training for all levels of our workforce, including holding Safety Leadership Workshops to align leaders around PG&E’s safety strategy and equip them with the tools they need to support their teams in building a safety-first climate. We will offer additional phases of training as part of PG&E’s multi-year safety culture roadmap.

In addition, as part of their individual annual goal setting, PG&E leaders at all levels established behavior-based safety goals in 2013 to reinforce our safety climate. Examples include leading safety meetings, conducting crew observations, participating in safety training and recognition events, and engaging grassroots teams.

Other areas of focus include:

  • Training leaders to treat safety incidents as opportunities for learning and coaching. When an incident occurs, we look to understand what happened and diagnose the root cause—not to discipline. Absent willful negligence on the part of those involved, PG&E will work with the employee or employees to train them on proper safety procedures and use the experience as a learning opportunity for them and the rest of the PG&E team.
  • Offering hands-on training and continuing education programs that enable new and tenured employees to learn how to use new technologies and how to ensure safety and quality.
  • Holding internal emergency drills with the PG&E emergency response team to simulate how PG&E responds to an emergency, so that gaps can be reviewed and corrected.

New Tools Make Job Safer for Electric Workers

(Photo by David Kligman)

PG&E introduced new cutting tools for electric workers that are expected to improve safety and reduce the time it takes to make repairs.

2013 Milestones

Our efforts to strengthen workplace safety are resulting in substantial progress on a number of fronts.

Employee Safety

Employee engagement and feedback play a critical role in identifying and resolving potential problems, underscoring our expectation that all employees feel empowered to speak up, stop a job and proactively address safety issues. Two initiatives in particular reinforced PG&E’s safety policies, programs and day-to-day activities:

  • Implemented a PG&E-wide near-hit reporting program. This program, which represents a best safety practice, was designed to encourage employees to share near hits and safety incidents and to promote a learning- and trust-based safety climate without the fear of reprisal.
  • Held Safety Leadership Workshops. Attended by 4,700 employees in 2013, the mandatory workshops were designed to align all leaders—from crew leads and safety leads to officers—around a new set of safety principles and further embed safety into our operational practices and culture.

We also continued to enhance our focus on health and wellness. This included an Industrial Athlete Program and ergonomics initiative designed to provide field personnel with tools, techniques, training and support to reduce the most common injuries (sprains and strains), as well as causes of cumulative stress on the body.

Contractor Safety

We are strengthening our focus on contractor safety to ensure that our commitment to public and workplace safety extends to anyone performing work for PG&E. This includes putting in place a contractor safety program focused on ensuring we use safety-focused contractor partners, as well as more clearly aligning our contractors with PG&E’s safety standards and expectations.

PG&E established a Contractor Safety department with responsibility for developing, implementing and managing a comprehensive contractor safety management program. In 2013, PG&E began piloting a contractor pre-qualification process to standardize contractor safety evaluations and on-boarding processes; a third party administrator validates contractor injury data and performs safety-manual audits.

The initial phase included identifying contractors that meet established risk profiles and requiring them to begin the pre-qualification process. Moving forward, we will continue to expand contractor outreach, field safety observations and post-project performance reviews.

Measuring Progress

In 2013, PG&E assessed progress on employee safety performance using two key indicators: the Lost Workday Case Rate and Serious Preventable Motor Vehicle Incident Rate. (These metrics are defined below.)

We set aggressive targets for safety in 2013, including a 25 percent reduction in the Lost Workday Case Rate compared with 2012 results. While there were no employee fatalities in 2013, we fell short of this target, as employees continued to experience serious injuries, in addition to sprains and strains. To address this, we are adopting an industrial athlete and ergonomics program across all lines of business, increasing use of a hotline that provides employees with immediate access to trained medical professionals and increasing near hit reporting to identify and correct hazards before they can cause an injury.

In 2013, we also 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. We targeted a 10 percent reduction in the Serious Preventable Motor Vehicle Incident Rate last year, compared with 2012. We also fell short of this target, which reinforces that we continue to have much work ahead to improve on-the-job safety. Our strategy includes better leveraging grassroots safety teams across PG&E, peer and supervisor driving observation programs, comprehensive driver training and increased use of vehicle technology, such as backing sensors and onboard driving behavior coaching.

The table below provides complete PG&E employee safety statistics for 2011 through 2013:

Safety Results for 2011 through 2013 (Utility)
  2011 2012 2013
Total Lost Workdays1 25,635 22,513 22,541
Total Lost Workday Cases2 57 68 76
Total Lost Workday Case Rate3 0.273 0.319 0.326
Total OSHA Recordables4 377 359 456
OSHA Recordable Rate5 1.803 1.695 2.078
  • 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—those that (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 2012 and 2013:

Motor Vehicle Safety Statistics (Utility)
  • 1 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.
  • 2 Number of serious preventable motor vehicle incidents that the driver could have reasonably avoided, per 1 million miles driven.

Looking Ahead

In 2014, the last of more than 5,000 participants at PG&E successfully completed our Safety Leadership workshop, accomplishing a major milestone in our effort to align every leader at PG&E with regard to safety.

Our journey to create and maintain a strong safety culture will continue with the next phase of safety leadership development. This will include a series of workshops designed to take safety leadership to the next level. Beginning in 2015, we will train employees who work in jobs with relatively high exposure to potential hazards to observe and provide feedback to one another to improve safety. We will also continue to refine our metrics so that we focus on the areas that have the greatest impact on reducing risk and eliminating safety incidents.

We are also preparing for an enterprise-wide roll out of a corrective action program, based on our successful program in gas operations, where we will identify, document and address gaps and deficiencies in our systems and work to correct them.

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