Safety is a core value of the electric power sector, and Edison Electric Institute (EEI) members are committed to protecting the safety and health of the workforce, industry contractors, and customers. Over the past 30 years, the industry’s total recordable incident rate (TRIR)—a standard measurement of occupational safety—has decreased substantially. However, in the last decade, the rate of serious injury and fatality (SIF) incidents has plateaued.

EEI members have prioritized SIF elimination and through collaboration across the industry are implementing a series of actions to achieve this goal through the Power to Prevent SIF Initiative.

Why is the industry focused on SIF?

Contrary to past theory, there is mounting evidence that the causes of SIFs are different from low-severity injuries and that reducing the rate of low-severity injuries may not lead to a corresponding reduction in SIFs. Thus, SIFs must be studied separately from lower-severity incidents. From a data availability perspective, SIFs are rare and extreme events that, taken in small sample sizes, do not necessarily represent any meaningful pattern or trend. Therefore, individual organizations simply do not have enough data to fuel the learning that is needed to eliminate SIFs. Only through shared industry learning can we advance our goal. 

Safety Classification & Learning Model (SCL)

The SCL model is a method for consistently classifying safety incidents and observations. The model defines seven incident and observation types utilizing high-energy assessment and the identification of direct controls to determine SIF potential. The common incident classification system serves as the foundation for shared learning. 

Precursor Analysis Project

Leveraging precursor studies by other industries, and a vigorous scientific validation process, EEI identified 13 precursors — reasonably detectable events, conditions, or actions that serve as warning signs of a SIF event — for the electric power sector. EEI’s precursor analysis protocol is a process of observing an environment and engaging with field personnel prior to beginning work to determine if known warning signs of SIF events are present. Through a brief discussion with workers and targeted observations of the work environment, an observer can help assess if conditions are sufficiently safe for work to proceed.

Innovative Safety Metrics

EEI has developed a suite of tools to provide insight into the effectiveness of safety programs and enable a more strategic approach to safety measurement, monitoring, and management. This system approach incorporates standardized leading indicators, a process to monitor high-energy hazards with corresponding controls, and a lagging indicator that weights injuries by severity. These new metrics place a greater emphasis on SIF prevention than existing metrics and will reveal trends that enable more strategic discussions.

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