Social Safety is a value that will not be compromised – and this value is rooted in the importance we place on the well-being of our employees, contractors, and communities.
In November 2018, Equitrans Midstream Corporation was launched as one of the largest natural gas gatherers and transmission pipeline operators in the United States – and “E-Train” left the station to begin its journey as a powerful, standalone midstream company.
As part of our transition, we transformed our approach to safety management, building and fostering a proactive safety culture. At Equitrans, the safety of our employees is our number one priority – above all else. A robust safety culture is the foundational element of our Company values and our efforts to be a sustainable business. We live by our conviction that injuries are preventable and that each of us has a responsibility, every day, to create a workplace where Zero Is Possible (ZIP) Today.
ZIP Today underpins our safety culture and ensures every employee, and contractor, understands our proactive approach to safe behavior in every situation. ZIP Today encompasses our leading safety practices and a higher maturity level than the standard compliance expectations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Our safety management is proactive and based upon positive recognition for observing and reporting potentially serious situations.
One of the most powerful tools we use to implement ZIP Today is the proactive safety program. The following three proactive safety indicators are one component of Equitrans’ evolving commitment to understanding, identifying, and measuring our safety practices:
- Incidents with Serious Potential (ISP): Any event with precursors that can lead to serious injuries, property damage, and fatalities;
- Observations with Serious Potential (OSP): Observation of an activity with precursors that has the potential to become an ISP; and
- Corrected Safety Opportunity (CSO): Non-serious hazard report, deficient procedure or process, or improvement suggestion that has been corrected and incorporated into our business and operations.
ISPs differ from OSHA record-keeping criteria because ISPs focus on precursors, behaviors, processes, and/or acts, as opposed to focusing on injury outcomes. ISPs can include incidents, near misses, and observations. To be clear, the ISP/OSP program goes above and beyond – it is an overlay on any and all regulatory requirements mandated by OSHA. Similarly, the CSO metric encourages employees to report all safety observations and opportunities for improvement to help increase safety awareness across Equitrans.
ISP/OSP “precursors” include a wide range of activities we encounter as part of our normal business operations, such as: vehicle operation, earth movement and excavation, mobile equipment use, tree felling, routine maintenance, and any activity involving the recognized hazards of natural gas operations. These precursors could represent potential situations that could result in serious injury or property damages. A simple, everyday life example is distracted driving during vehicle operation. The operating of a vehicle is the precursor, and the act of reading a text message while driving could be deemed the unsafe event or activity. Identifying these precursors is an important part of our proactive ISP and OSP tracking. Our system measures potential risk regardless of outcomes, thereby instilling in our employees the importance of understanding unsafe situations throughout their activities, as opposed to dissecting circumstances only when incidents occur. Following the above example – reading a text message while driving would be deemed an ISP event even if it did not lead to an accident.
The importance of ISPs and OSPs to our safety management cannot be overstated. The evolution of our safety culture is predicated on our ability to further engrain this approach into our workforce, enabling us to move from systematic to proactive, and ultimately creating inherent safety behaviors across everything we do.
Our Safety Culture
Accountability and Collaboration at All Levels
Every person at Equitrans plays an important role in ensuring safety and adhering to the expectations of ZIP Today and placing safety above all else. Participation from all levels of our workforce – from our front-line to our CEO – is essential to our success and it is important to include individuals beyond our dedicated Health, Safety, Security and Environmental (HSSE) team.
Our ZIP Program has a senior-level Executive Sponsor, who serves as a strategic advisor and conduit to our executive team and our Board of Directors. There are three ZIP Today sub-committees: Office Safety, Field Safety, and Construction Safety. These committees are led by three ZIP Challengers who manage special safety campaigns, encourage awareness opportunities, and provide recognition opportunities. Each committee meets at least quarterly to discuss best practices, program updates, and ISP/OSPs. Notably, the employees who participate in and lead these committees do not have HSSE as part of their direct job responsibilities, as safety is an element of every employee’s job.
As part of our ISP/OSP program implementation, a select group of leaders meet monthly to review potential ISPs and OSPs and to evaluate the ISP classifications. The participants include Senior Vice Presidents and their direct reports, as well as our Deputy General Counsel.
Our Executive HSSE Committee meets quarterly and participants include our COO, CAO, Deputy General Counsel, and Senior Vice Presidents. These meetings involve reviewing ISP/OSP performance, updating any trends in our metrics, discussing risks and strategies, outlining HSSE regulatory matters, and furthering the progression of our proactive safety culture. Our HSSE performance and strategies are shared with our Board of Directors on a quarterly basis.
Our Board of Directors is highly engaged in our safety activities, performance, and culture. In addition to oversight of our performance during every Board meeting and HSSE Committee meeting, directors of Equitrans have been involved on a more personal level. As one example, a Board member sent hand-written notes to individual employees who demonstrated excellence in their commitment to our safety culture. We are fortunate to have strong and direct engagement from the highest levels of the Company and this engagement is yet another powerful element to demonstrate the high standards of our safety culture.
Through continued communication of our safety priorities, Equitrans employees embrace our commitment to safety. Each month our COO delivers a ZIP safety memo with key information on our safety performance, highlights of employees’ safety activities, information about our latest safety campaigns, and encouragement of safety leadership. Many employees choose to step into the spotlight by creating safety-themed videos, which we include in our monthly ZIP safety memo. The videos capture safety in action, highlighting how employees, and their families and friends, integrate safety into their day – at work and at home. This extensive engagement provides a path to the highest level of safety culture ─ employee ownership of safety.
We aim to extend our safety culture beyond the workplace, encouraging employees and their families to focus on safety in their personal lives by providing home safety tips and resources to help employees adopt or improve healthful lifestyles. Throughout the year, our E-Train On-Track Committee launches various health & wellness challenges, such as “Charity Miles” and “Biggest Loser” campaigns. Keeping health & safety at the forefront, E-Train delivered “COVID-19 Care Kits” to all employees’ homes and encouraged home safety by providing employees an opportunity to select a safety item for their use away from work. Through ongoing efforts, we continue to bolster our employee safety recognition program, safety-specific communications, and outreach to contractors.
Safety Education and Training
An informed employee who can identify safety risks and can take action to mitigate hazards is less likely to be injured. We place considerable emphasis on safety education and training, and we are committed to providing our employees the resources they need to work safely and successfully.
Every Equitrans employee participates in the Equitrans general orientation upon their hiring, which includes information on our safety culture. Each employee also receives an in-depth safety orientation upon arrival at their work location. Employees attend core safety training annually, in addition to monthly specialized OSHA and Equitrans education tailored to an employee’s applicable work responsibilities. Examples of these tailored trainings include how to investigate incidents, safe driving practices, and how to recognize and control hazards. Employees are required to complete Equitrans-specific Operator Qualification (OQ) training specific to their job responsibilities. Lastly, employees receive extensive on-the-job training from their supervisors and peers.
For more information about safety education and training, including how employees are trained to spot potential hazards, see the Occupational Health & Safety section of the Equitrans Corporate Sustainability Report.
Implementation and Measuring Progress
Implementing the ISP and OSP Program
All employees have a safety and observation application, “Intelex Mobile,” that allows them to quickly share and provide real-time safety observations by easily reporting any observed safe or unsafe situation. Once information is received, an Equitrans Safety Coordinator contacts the employee to determine if additional actions are required. The Intelex Mobile information enables Equitrans to systematically track and analyze data for trends and preventative measures. This enhancement is an important tool in the continuous improvement and implementation of best practices for our safety culture.
ISPs and OSPs go through a comprehensive determination and due diligence process. When an ISP or OSP occurs, the employee(s) must: 1) pause work and make the situation safe; 2) notify their supervisor and safety coordinator; and 3) the supervisor launches an investigation. The investigation is commensurate with circumstances and potential outcomes and involves the field safety technician and support functions as necessary. The investigation and findings are documented electronically in our central system, Intelex, with weekly and monthly reports made available.
Our director of safety and the director of the related functional area make a preliminary determination to classify the event as an ISP or OSP. Final determination is made by the oversight components built into the process, which includes the steps outlined below.
- Notification – The determination process begins with notification to the direct supervisor and safety coordinator.
- Investigation – The supervisor and safety coordinator open an investigation based on circumstances and potential outcomes and involve the field safety technician and support functions as needed.
- Documentation – Details of the potential incident and subsequent investigation are captured electronically in our Intelex system.
- Preliminary Determination – Our director of safety and the director of the related functional area classify the event as an ISP or OSP.
- Final Determination – The appropriate safety committee (field, office, construction) and the Executive HSSE Committee make the final determination about the nature of the incident.
- Audit – Our Deputy General Counsel completes an audit to conclude the determination process.
Meaningful Performance and Progress
At Equitrans, we use more than traditional OSHA injury classifications and rates to measure our progress toward an injury-free performance. Ultimately, we believe the prevention of incidents and injuries is a shared responsibility – all employees are considered Safety Coordinators at Equitrans.
Zero Is Possible is more than a mantra – it represents a mindset that challenges all of us to work toward building a proactive safety culture. If we are proactive, we can identify potential hazards and address them BEFORE an incident or injury occurs.
To measure progress of our proactive safety program implementation, we actively measure the level of proactive safety efforts in the form of observations completed, CSOs, and OSPs. Many of the submitted observations identified opportunities for us to remove a potential hazard, improve a process, or enhance training BEFORE and incident or injury occurred.
We also track injuries and incidents with Incident Based Safety Metrics. When an ISP occurs, regardless of injury, we work very hard to understand how we could have identified and prevented the circumstance. The desired result of all our activities is to prevent injuries, and we use OSHA’s definition of Days Away, Restricted, Transfer (DART) injuries as an indicator to help guide our proactive efforts.
Active participation in the observation leads to an increase in the observation rate and the CSO rate. With active participation in our proactive program, we strive to decrease our ISP Rate and DART Rate. Driving our Incident Based Metrics down to zero is our priority, which we believe will only be possible with a high-level of proactive efforts by our employees who place Safety – Above All Else!
What gets measured, gets managed – and our ISP/OSP metrics are making a powerful difference in the way we operate. To demonstrate our commitment to safety and transparency, Equitrans is disclosing our safety performance and progress towards ZIP Today in the two tables below.
(current year’s data is updated at the end of each quarter)
Proactive Safety Metrics(1),(2)
|Year||Observation Rate(3)||CSO Rate(4),(5)||OSP Rate(6)|
Incident Based Safety Metrics (1),(2)
|Year||ISP Rate(7)||DART Rate(8)|
- The safety metrics cover all Equitrans employees.
- All rates are calculated consistent with OSHA’s formula for injury and incident rates. Each item is calculated by multiplying the specific metric by 200,000 and dividing by the total number of hours worked during the period. For example, the ISP Rate = Incidents with serious potential multiplied by 200,000 and divided by number of hours worked.
- Observations are the total documented safety observations by our employees, and ultimately classified as positive findings, CSOs, OSPs and ISPs. The number of total observations is used to calculate the observation rate.
- CSOs reflect non-serious hazard reports, deficient procedures or processes, or improvement suggestions that have been corrected and incorporated into our business and operations. The CSO metric encourages employees to report all safety observations and opportunities for improvement to help increase safety awareness across Equitrans.
- CSOs were first tracked in 2020, so a 2019 CSO rate is not available.
- OSPs include observations of behaviors, actions or situations that, if allowed to continue, have the potential to cause serious injury or significant property damage.
- ISPs include events or situations where a behavior or activity may have the potential to cause serious injury or significant property damage.
- DART is OSHA’s Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred injury classification designed to track any OSHA recordable workplace injury or illness that results in time away from work, restricted job roles, or an employee’s permanent transfer to a new position.
In addition to our proactive safety metrics that will be updated quarterly, we annually report our traditional OSHA safety metrics for both employees and contractors as shown in the Year-Over-Year Safety Metrics Summary table provided in the Occupational Health and Safety section of the Corporate Sustainability Report.
We have witnessed the positive impact of the ISP/OSP program on our safety culture. This is not just about the numbers, data, and reporting – it is about changing behaviors and evolving a safety culture from reactive to proactive, as we strive for operational excellence every day. On our journey to excellence, we see the importance of setting H&S targets to achieve our goals. The ISP/OSP metrics are fully integrated into our employees’ short-term incentive program (STIP). They are also a reminder that we must always stay vigilant because every hazard that is identified and corrected is one less potential injury or property damage.
Suppliers and vendors are no exception to Equitrans’ safety focus. We require all affiliated Equitrans partners to have robust safety programs in place. Equitrans believes safety not only protects the well-being of our workers, but also assists in managing costs, maintaining efficiency, and increasing employee productivity. The safety and well-being of our contractors, both in the field and in the office, is tremendously important. By focusing on contractor safety, we help foster a safer and more efficient work environment while also strengthening our contractor relationships. We hold our contractors to the same standards as our employees to ensure that our job sites and the people working at them stay safe. To do this, every company that provides contractors for our projects must hold our steadfast commitment to safety. We expect all contractors, including their subcontractors and agents, to adhere to all applicable U.S. laws and regulatory requirements related to health, safety, and employment, as well as to Equitrans’ Safety Management System, Company policies, and best practices.
Please refer to the Occupational Health and Safety section in the Corporate Sustainability Report for more information about contractor qualifications and other requirements that are intended to keep our contractors safe.
Adapting to Change During the Pandemic
In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have proactively undertaken a number of companywide measures intended to promote the safety of field and office-based employees and contractors. In early March 2020, we established an Infectious Disease Response Team to manage our pandemic response efforts; implemented a mandatory work-from-home protocol for a significant majority of the Company’s employees (currently scheduled through at least December 31, 2021); and instituted stringent pandemic-related working protocols, including mandatory face coverings, social distancing for field operations where feasible; and implemented self-declaration forms to further protect our workforce. Given the magnitude of our extended workforce, we also shared our Infectious Disease Response Plan with suppliers and contractors to ensure alignment of required working protocols across our operations.
Since implementing our many pandemic protocols, our E-Train employees have not missed a beat in continuing to safely operate our assets and our business. We have taken steps to ensure employees are actively engaged and informed by continually providing communication updates; producing a variety of video messages by our executive team; encouraging team-building events via our several technology platforms; and delivering COVID-19 care packages to employees’ homes. The Company’s Infectious Disease Response Team continues to monitor and assist in implementing mitigation efforts in respect to potential areas of risk for the Company and its stakeholders.
As our safety culture evolves, it takes diligence, conviction, and the willingness to realistically assess what we need to do to continue our proactive approach to safety. Everyone at E-Train is an essential change agent for their role in advancing safety, whether for reporting an unsafe situation, using stop work authority, or noting potential conflicts in a policy. Our transformational journey commands the attention of everyone, every day, from our front-line worker in the field, to office-based employees, to executive leadership, and through to the involvement and oversight of our Board of Directors. Each of these groups are active participants in adopting our culture of ZERO IS POSSIBLE.
Printable PDF file: Safety – Above All Else