Safety of our contractors
The safety of our contractor workforce is as important to us as the safety of our employees because harm doesn’t discriminate in the pain it causes. We have a strong contractor safety program that we continuously improve upon. We’re doing this in collaboration with contractors to ensure understanding and to set clear expectations.
To help our contractors achieve Zero Harm, each business unit has a rigorous contractor pre-qualification process that sets clear expectations for compliance and commitment. We are beginning to incorporate leading indicators into the contractor safety management program so we can proactively address trends.
We frequently communicate with our contractors to ensure compliance with our Safety & Health requirements. In addition, we meet regularly and set an expectation for them to align with our value of Zero Harm. We also regularly seek opportunities to learn best practices from them.
When performance doesn’t match expectations, we hold in-person meetings with contractors to identify the areas in which they can improve upon their safety practices, and ultimately improve their performance. In 2018, we conducted 50 in-person safety meetings with our contractors and saw immediate, positive results. Out of the 19 Transmission contractors who completed an in-person safety meeting, 18 experienced improved DART rates in 2018, and 15 had zero DART cases for the entire year. The results were similar for Distribution contractors, with 11 of the 13 contractors improving their DART rate following a face-to-face safety review, and eight contractors experiencing zero DART cases in 2018.
Our continued focus on contractor safety is an important part of our strategy and our goal for Zero Harm, especially as our contractor workforce continues to grow.
Contractor Safety Committee
In 2018, we created a Contractor Safety Technical Committee to accomplish four initiatives to improve contractor safety. These initiatives included a common data collection system, a standardized contractor prequalification process, a common set of supplemental safety terms and conditions, and oversight training. The data system houses the contractor qualification data we collect and keeps track of all contractor hours worked. The system also serves as a resource center where users can find AEP’s Contractor Terms and Conditions, document templates and safety and training videos.
This new committee is focusing on creating a common contractor onboarding and work experience, regardless of the AEP business unit for which they are working. To achieve this, we are working toward establishing an AEP systemwide common prequalification process and set of supplemental terms and conditions. The committee will also develop oversight training for those with contractor management responsibilities at AEP.
Being recognized for our safety programs means a lot to us. We are committed to Zero Harm, and we don’t do it for awards. It is gratifying to know that we are making a difference.
In 2018, the National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee, Inc., presented Zero Injury Safety Awards (ZISA) to 10 different AEP projects. ZISA is a premier award for industry safety, honoring union contractors, labor representatives and owner-clients who create injury-free jobsites. To qualify for ZISA recognition, a project must have zero OSHA recordable incidents.