Making Safety Personal
We use two key indicators to measure safety performance:
- Number of employee and contractor fatalities
- Total Incident Case Rate (TICR) – the number of recordable incidents per 100 employees (based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration criteria)
In 2008, we achieved our best year ever for employee safety by exceeding the company’s goals for both of these measures. We had no work-related employee or contractor fatalities in 2008. Our TICR for the year was 1.15, which represented an 8 percent improvement over 2007. Although our crews worked in some very hazardous conditions – including the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in September – we ended the year with 22 fewer recordable incidents than in 2007. The company recorded two serious employee injuries (severe enough to require hospitalization overnight for reasons other than for observation), compared to 11 in 2007.
When leaders simplify and personalize safety, performance improvements often follow. For example, Senior Vice President of Regulated Fossil and Hydroelectric Generation Barry Pulskamp launched a “Safety Never Sleeps” campaign in August 2008. Every night, Pulskamp reviewed the day’s safety performance and sent an e-mail to his team of nearly 2,000 employees. Each safety message focused on preventing injuries by reinforcing positive behaviors, recognizing individual efforts, identifying best practices and sharing lessons learned. Pulskamp would not go to bed until he sent a safety update, ensuring that his e-mail was the first thing employees saw when they started work the next day.
Our Power Delivery group launched a “Six-Day Safety Challenge” in 2008 when safety metrics indicated a decline in performance from the prior year. A review of the numbers indicated that if the 4,000-plus workforce could go six days without a recordable incident, Power Delivery could return to a path of continuous improvement toward the goal of zero injuries. Power Delivery leaders asked employees to hold themselves – and each other – accountable as they worked toward a goal of zero injuries for six straight days. After three tries, they succeeded. The group’s injury rate for April matched the best monthly performance since 2006. And, the team went on to set a new record in May 2008, cutting the April injury benchmark in half.
The focus on making safety personal also extends to our international operations. In 2008, Duke Energy International employees adopted a set of Safety Behavior Standards that individualize the requirements for a safe and productive work environment.