Zero Harm is at the center of everything we do to protect our employees, our business partners and our communities. 2021 was a year of change and uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to present our teams with unprecedented distractions, both on the job and at home. In response, we worked to keep safety at the top of our minds as numerous internal and external influences vied for our employees’ time and attention. The increased emphasis on health and safety during the pandemic has shown us the importance of building a lasting and sustainable safety culture at AEP.
We are on a journey to achieve Zero Harm because we care that our employees and business partners go home in the same condition that they came to work. Often, journeys are not without setbacks or slowdowns. Our employee safety performance declined in 2021 compared to 2020, which was the company’s safest year on record. Our contractor performance had a slight improvement during this same time period. The vast majority of our employee injuries were slips, trips, falls, sprains and strains. The hazards that cause these injuries can be difficult to spot because they’re associated with tasks we do every day at work and at home.
While we continue to learn and recognize there are always opportunities to improve, it’s also important that we acknowledge what we’ve done well in 2021. Topping the list is that AEP employees and contractors did not experience a fatality. This is an important achievement in our pursuit of Zero Harm.
It is important to focus on what we know and what we can control. In 2021, 84% of work reporting locations did not experience an employee Days Away, Restricted Time (DART) event. AEP employees know how to adapt and succeed when faced with adversity. This has been evident throughout the pandemic. We will use what we learned in 2021 to improve how we work so we can make sure everyone goes home in the same condition they came to work.
We hold safety as a core value at AEP. This includes setting the expectation our Board possess the skills and expertise needed to oversee our high standards for safety and health performance. In addition, employees and leaders are held accountable for safe working practices, which is reflected in our annual performance metrics. This helps ensure that employees are not encouraged to achieve earnings objectives at the expense of workforce safety.