SAFETY GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Safety is an unwavering core value at FirstEnergy. We believe that, together, we have the power and responsibility to keep each other safe and create a working environment that helps ensure every employee returns home free from injury every day.
Our safety teams work together to drive continuous improvement in our company's safety processes and programs, and to provide guidance for compliance with applicable laws, regulations and standards. Our Executive Safety Council, comprised of company leaders who meet monthly, develops the strategic direction of our safety vision and provides oversight and guidance on our safety plans and initiatives. In addition, each operating company has a Safety Governance Team, comprising operating company management and union leadership responsible for proper implementation of our safety initiatives and assessments of safety performance.
We continue to include safety metrics as key performance indicators (KPIs) in our annual incentive compensation program to reinforce that a safe work environment is crucial to our success. Our Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate and Life-Changing Events (LCEs) metric monitor the impact of our exposure reduction efforts. DART measures the number of incidents that result in days away from work, days of restricted work activity or job transfers. Our DART stretch goal is set at the industry benchmark top-decile rates, and the DART target goal is set at the industry benchmark top-quartile rates. LCEs track injuries that are or could be life-threatening, life-altering or fatal. Please see our EESG data table for specific safety metrics.
"Safety is, and always will be, an unwavering core value at FirstEnergy and is at the forefront of everything we do. Keeping one another safe in every situation, every day, is at the heart of our safety commitment. Our leaders are our role models and sponsors of safety, and our employees should know that that they have support from the leadership team to do the right thing every time.
As we continue to improve our safety culture, we must not only focus on keeping one another safe, but ensure our customers and communities are, too."
Senior Vice President, Operations
Leading with Safety
Safety is a business and cultural imperative embedded in every aspect of operations. It is making sure we are doing the right thing at the right time, every time, so everyone returns home safely every day. Having the power to keep each other safe means accepting the responsibility to look out for ourselves and each other. There is consistent reinforcement of the shared and personal accountability for controlling exposure to hazards, and continuously improving safety behaviors, systems and controls. Zero LCEs is our shared mission.
With emphasis on "Leading with Safety," leaders and employees receive safety training and reinforcement of exposure control concepts to improve job site exposure identification, communication and mitigation to prevent LCEs. FirstEnergy continues to enhance and reinforce leader and employee safety training and exposure control concepts to improve job site exposure identification, communication and mitigation to prevent life changing events. Further, FirstEnergy continues to expand its Leading with Safety experiences with its employees to achieve excellence in personal, contractor and public safety.
We recognize leadership's key role in controlling and eliminating exposure. To solidify critical leadership behaviors and accountability at all levels, we have conducted a 360-degree assessment and formed personal safety action plans for all Utility and Fleet Operations leadership. We've also provided LCE critical control workshops and field coaching for managers and supervisors, as well as awareness training for our field leaders.
Our field verification process is also an important part of achieving our safety vision and managing our safety performance. Field verifications are designed to increase focus on scenarios that have the potential to create life-changing events. This process helps us to identify critical controls in the field that affect exposure and provide coaching opportunities to help employees recognize exposure risk and eliminate or mitigate it. This process also helps to ensure we’re effectively following existing safety procedures and programs in the field.
A cornerstone of our corporate strategy is ensuring we are creating a safe workplace where all employees are responsible for safety and well-being. We are committed to creating a working environment that helps ensure every employee returns home safely every day.
Our success in achieving our safety vision depends on partnering with our employees and our unions to reduce exposure and improve our safety practices and processes. Toward that end, we build feedback and coaching opportunities into our safety processes, including our field verifications. We also work to build trusting relationships across organizational levels and encourage employees to speak up and pause or stop work if they feel something is not right.
Employee training and education is also vital to our success. We conduct both annual and ongoing training for employees on a range of health and safety topics:
- Progression training: These trainings occur regularly over the employees' first several years in their role and provide workers with the skills and knowledge needed to safely perform increasingly advanced tasks.
- Refresher training: Refresher sessions are offered on a regular basis to help ensure employees are current with our safe work practices and with regulatory-required training.
- Service restoration training: This specialized training is provided on a regular basis for employees who support service restoration efforts. Team members learn to safely identify and assess damage following a storm, protect the public from hazards such as downed wires and safely repair or replace damaged facilities to restore service for customers.
FirstEnergy’s training courses are offered in a variety of formats (i.e., in-person, web-based, instructor-led, and remote) to optimize timeliness of delivery, student comprehension and sustainability.
COVID-19 Response: Keeping Employee Safety and Well-being First
We recognize that the pandemic posed unprecedented challenges for our employees, both at work and at home. We facilitated a range of tools and resources to enable employees to work effectively while also providing flexibility and expanded benefits to help them and their families cope throughout the pandemic.
Some of those solutions included modifying the employee benefits plan to offer in-network coverage for COVID-19 treatment and telehealth services, providing employees with up to four hours of paid time off (PTO) to receive each dose of the vaccine and implementing a new PTO carryover process that allows employees to access unused 2020 and 2021 PTO through 2024.
For the additional measures we have taken for the safety and well-being of our employees please visit our Proxy Statement.
Contractor safety includes strengthening our partnerships with our contractors and focusing our efforts to reduce their exposures, eliminate events and pursue excellence in safety and human performance, while sharing information and best practices.
Our comprehensive contractor safety program is a key part of this effort and consists of the following elements:
- Contractor Pre-Qualification: This is a formalized annual review of our contractors' safety readiness and performance.
- Contractor Safety Requirements: These safety requirements are embedded within each contractual document to help clarify our general safety expectations for contractors prior to initiating work with FirstEnergy. If safety requirements are modified, they are communicated to each contractor company.
- Contractor Oversight: We provide oversight of contractors through tools such as orientation, partnership meetings, incident reporting and corrective actions.
- Evaluation of Onsite Safety Performance: We conduct contractor safety performance assessments through field observations.
Additionally, we are developing a contractor field verification process to help identify, control and eliminate potential or actual exposures that have the potential to result in a life-changing event.
Health and Wellness
Our approach extends beyond physical safety to employees' whole health, including their mental and emotional wellness and personal and family well-being.
At FirstEnergy we are committed to helping our employees maintain and improve their health. We help employees make their overall health a priority through our robust HealthyLiving Wellness Program. This extensive program is offered through our partnership with Virgin Pulse and is designed to encourage and reward participants for improving or maintaining positive health and total well-being. We evaluate the HealthyLiving program as part of our Total Rewards each year – looking at best practices and program participation as well as feedback from our employees – to determine which features to offer for a robust and engaging program.
Our wellness program focuses on physical, emotional, social and ﬁnancial health. Components of the program include personalized wellness content such a health assessment survey and health screening, wellness challenges, health coaching, a robust mobile app, along with a dedicated series of emotional strength exercises and tools to help employees ﬁnd the right work-life balance.
Employees can earn up to $600 in rewards as they complete program activities and show healthy results. To encourage healthy living at home, the digital wellness platform is also available to spouses and domestic partners, who can earn up to $200 if enrolled in a FirstEnergy or union-sponsored medical plan. When participants are ready to redeem their rewards, they have a variety of options such as pre-tax Health Savings Account (HSA) and 401(k) contributions, taxable cash payments, charitable donations and gift cards and merchandise from the platform's online store.
FirstEnergy also offers a comprehensive set of benefits and programs to support our employees, including:
- Medical and prescription
- Company Provided Health Care Contribution
- Life insurance (basic, supplemental, dependent life and accidental death and dismemberment)
- Financial planning
- Educational Assistance
- Health savings and flexible spending accounts
- Long-term disability insurance
- Life Resources Employee Assistance Program
- Dependent insurance and flexible spending accounts
- HealthyLiving Wellness Program
- Adoption Assistance
- 401(k) Savings Plan (with matching employer contributions)
We also strive to create flexibility and balance for our employees. Our time-off policies are designed to promote a healthy work-life balance and allow employees time away to spend with friends and family, and pursue interests outside of work. Our diverse slate of time-off programs allows for flexibility in how employees take paid leave and goes beyond standard Paid Time Off (PTO) offerings to address unforeseen circumstances and employee well-being.
Additionally, eligible employees have access to 16 hours of paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO), which can be used instead of PTO when an employee volunteers at a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. This VTO policy enables our employees to volunteer with organizations that matter to them and support our company’s mission to make our communities stronger.