Our Safety Forward approach promotes a strong safety culture across all of our operations where safety is at the forefront of everything we do.
Our enterprise-wide safety programs provide a consistent approach to safety for all employees, implement best practices to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, and increase awareness of hazards and preventive measures. Safe work practices are documented to support compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other regulations. If an employee feels a situation is not safe, he or she has the authority to stop work at any time until the situation has been appropriately addressed.
We expect our employees to help with the identification, elimination or effective mitigation of hazards that threaten the company’s ability to deliver energy services without harm to employees, customers, members of the public or the environment.
Safety Management System
CenterPoint Energy’s Safety Management System (SMS) provides the framework for our electric and natural gas systems, our corporate functions and our subsidiary operations to effectively identify and manage risks to our operations. Our SMS was implemented as a voluntary program and modeled after American Petroleum Institute’s API RP 1173 guidelines for the development of Pipeline Safety Management Systems, as well as OSHA guidance. This model is a best practice within the industry and highly rated by peer benchmarking groups, such as the American Gas Association. CenterPoint Energy has voluntarily extended its SMS to include Electric Operations, where implementation is ongoing.
SMS Programs and Activities
- Workforce safety
- OSHA and United States Department of Transportation compliance
- Audits and inspections
- Quality assurance and control
- Contractor monitoring and quality management programs
- Change management
- Technical training and operator qualification
- Risk management
- Incident investigation and management
- Root cause analysis
- Corrective action
- Lessons learned
- Damage prevention
EMPLOYEE SAFETY PARTICIPATION
Our employees are the driving force for identifying and correcting unsafe behaviors and conditions. Our behavior-based safety program allows employees to conduct safety observations with the ability to remain anonymous. Core teams composed of employees with support from managers and employee safety leaders use safety observation and incident data to create safety performance action plans.
Departments are encouraged to start safety committees to discuss improvement opportunities and communicate safety information through meetings and annual safety summits. Monthly safety meeting kits cover topics specific to the time of year, relevant issues or current safety performance. Core teams leverage safety meetings to cover pertinent safety information from safety observations, along with updating employees on the status of corrective actions to address hazards.
Training and Protocols
A well-trained and qualified workforce is vital to the success of utility companies. CenterPoint Energy prevents and mitigates health and safety impacts for employees through appropriate skills training and education based on employee roles.
We have established a structured employee safety onboarding and development plan through our learning and development platform, offering safety and technical training courses focused on driving, worker safety and safety culture, as well as other safety programs designed to encourage employee engagement and participation.
Employees across the organization receive safety training upon hire and refresher training on a periodic basis. Enrollments for computer-based training and instructor-led courses are made based on the employee role and their level of hazard exposure.
- Through our learning and development platform, an employee safety onboarding and development plan provides safety and technical training courses focused on employee workplace safety and driving.
- Safety specialists and industrial hygienists provide ergonomic assessments, hands-on training, educational resources and early mitigation of discomfort for work-related medical issues.
- Our Physical Security Policy addresses important topics to help maintain a safe and secure place to work and ensure safe and reliable service to our customers.
- To promote employee wellness, CenterPoint Energy provides employee communications, educational resources and general health coaching in some areas.
- In 2022, the second Enterprise Safety Forum was held to engage employees on safety importance, including identifying and addressing high-energy hazards, leadership engagements and lessons learned. Employees from across the organization shared safety initiatives they have been implementing to improve safety culture, morale, and conditions within their work areas.
Recognize • Evaluate • Anticipate • Define • Yes
READY – Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention Model
READY is CenterPoint Energy’s model designed to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities. This model is built upon recognizing high-energy hazards and providing capacity to mitigate and prevent possible incidents on a worksite.
To help drive positive change, CenterPoint Energy has worked with other peer utilities to collaborate on effective methods that result in improved safety performance. We have engaged with the Edison Electric Institute to identify ways to reduce serious injuries and fatalities with the goal of addressing the challenge for the industry as a whole.
Through our READY implementation process, we introduced employee champions and learning teams to help shape the program and increase its adoption and effectiveness. All employees are required to complete READY computer-based training.
The READY model is driving a change to see safety differently, and we are confident that it will become how we do business, create a culture of learning and encourage more employee participation.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, we have been strengthening our contractor safety program. In 2022, we introduced the CenterPoint Energy Contractor Safety Management Lifecycle, which outlines the stages of contractor engagement from pre-bid to off-boarding. The model provides expectations for engagement by CenterPoint Energy stakeholders. Our contractor oversight process includes required training on safety policies, evaluating contractor safety performance, reviewing operator qualification training, conducting onsite program audits and communicating contractor performance metrics.
Contractors who perform field operations work on behalf of CenterPoint Energy participate in the annual Contractor Safety Summit, where leaders discuss how to implement risk-reducing measures to promote a culture of safety. With the ultimate goal of improving the overall performance of our workforce, systems and assets, the annual summit started small with Electric Operations contractors in 2017. It has grown to include Gas Operations contractors, along with representatives from a range of CenterPoint Energy departments that support operations. Contractors have become more engaged in the event by presenting on best practices and lessons learned from near misses and actual incidents.