Transforming Safety and Health

Nothing takes higher priority at AEP than the safety and health of our employees, contractors and the public. We have made good progress during the past decade, but we have yet to achieve our goal of Zero Harm.

Following a company-wide evaluation of our safety and health culture in 2015, we launched a five-year journey to shift our approach to safety and health by focusing on engagement, accountability, proactive hazard identification and correction, and continuous improvement. As a result, we have established several programs and activities that serve as the foundation for our safety and health transformation. These include:

  • Enhancing our leaders’ abilities to provide constructive feedback and engage with employees through CORE (Coaching through Observation, Recognition and Engagement) Visits.
  • Encouraging employees to identify and correct hazardous situations through the Good Catch Program.
  • Identifying high-risk activities and implementing plans to reduce hazards.
  • Changing the way we think about accountability for events that occur.
  • Establishing a safety and health committee structure that enables us to effectively develop solutions and share information across the company.

Following a company-wide evaluation of our safety and health culture in 2015, we launched a five-year journey to shift our approach to safety and health.

The Good Catch Program collects and shares with business units information about potential hazards. We encourage employees to identify and document unsafe conditions or events where no injury occurs but could have. We take these “good catches” and share them across the company as a learning experience to prevent harm from happening. An employee team developed a methodology for measuring the quality of Good Catches, which includes proper classification of events, understandable description/information, determination of how to best share events, and timely completion of corrective/preventable actions. We review the data collected from Good Catches to help us identify patterns that could lead to harm and take proactive measures to prevent it.

In 2016, the number of Good Catches reported by employees tripled compared with 2015. Capturing quality Good Catches and sharing them is essential to achieving Zero Harm. These results tell us that we are more focused on preventing harm by being on the lookout for the hazards that can cause harm.

Protecting our workers is also part science. Four employees received Technology Transfer Awards from the Electric Power Research Institute for uncovering the dynamics and extent of physiological strain (heat stress) that electric utility workers experience while performing typical workday tasks. The research is expanding awareness and scientific knowledge about the effects of heat stress and could lead to new industry guidelines to better protect worker health and safety. This is important to AEP and our industry because so many of our employees are routinely exposed to extreme weather conditions.

The programs we have put in place are the foundation of AEP’s safety and health transformation. Our collective focus, commitment and dedication, plus shared responsibility, not only for ourselves but for everyone around us, will be imperative in our journey toward Zero Harm.