Protecting our employees, customers, and communities always comes first.
We prioritize safety ahead of everything else, because nothing else can succeed without it. Our relentless focus on safety has produced gratifying improvements in performance. But we are aiming even higher — because even one accident is too many.
Our goal is to send every employee home unhurt, every day. That is the only acceptable standard of performance. We have not yet attained a perfect safety record, but we are making progress. From 2017-2021, we cut our OSHA-recordable injury rate by 29%. Since 2006, we have cut that rate 71%. Our rate as of 2021 stood at roughly one-third of the industry average.
To continue improving, we take a comprehensive approach. We maintain safety committees and perform root-cause analyses of every significant safety incident. We deploy multiple programs and methods to reduce mishaps: augmented-reality training simulations, regular drills, GPS vehicle tracking, a slip simulator, pre-job briefings, and individualized coaching from sports-medicine trainers. We also conduct rigorous oversight of contractors through site coordinators and audits. Employees receive regular safety messages from executives and local leadership, and are encouraged to begin meetings with a safety message as well.
In 2021, we increased our efforts. Among other things, we published new standard operating procedures in our gas distribution business to reinforce safe operating practices and adopted, for 2022, new safety objectives through our annual incentive program.
We take extensive precautions to protect our employees, contractors, customers, and the public from electrical mishaps. These include:
- Emergency action plans in the event of natural disasters, fires, terrorist threats, and other crises.
- Crisis response training and drills covering everything from data breaches to loss of radiation containment at nuclear power stations.
- Fencing, signage, and asset monitoring around electric infrastructure and facilities.
- Aerial inspections for hard-to-reach areas.
- Tree trimming, strategic undergrounding, and right-of-way maintenance to prevent downed lines.
- 811 Call Before You Dig to keep the public from accidentally digging near electric infrastructure.
- Overhead safety messaging for first responders, contractors, and others who might work in the vicinity of high-voltage overhead power lines.
- Weather safety messaging prior to major weather events to keep customers safe during power restoration efforts.
- Safety demonstrations illustrating the dangers of live power lines.
- A Dominion Energy Virginia safety training program to instruct employees about job hazard analysis, arc flash hazards, and more.
- Accident investigations conducted for all injuries and significant near misses.
- A written hazard communication program that includes hazard communication plans for all offices.
While nuclear energy is one of the safest power-production technologies in the world, Dominion Energy uses redundant systems, rigorous protocols, and constant training to maintain the highest levels of protection and security.
Nuclear power stations are designed, built, operated, and guarded with multiple, redundant layers of safety and security. In the unlikely event of an incident, the system will shut down immediately and operators will activate safety response protocols to protect the station and surrounding area. That is precisely what happened in 2011, when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck a region of Virginia less than a dozen miles away from Dominion Energy’s North Anna Power Station. Both reactors shut down automatically and emergency equipment safely cooled both reactors, as it was designed to do.
In the extremely unlikely event that all redundant safety systems should fail, Dominion Energy has a separate set of equipment — including portable electric generators, water pumps, and hoses — that can be deployed to keep the station safe. Such “FLEX” equipment was installed at every nuclear station in the United States following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan in 2011.
Dominion Energy also maintains stringent requirements for those who work at or visit its nuclear stations. Armed security officers are highly trained. Employees are subject to background checks; drug, alcohol, and psychological screening; credit-history reviews; fitness-for-duty standards; random drug and alcohol testing; and regular training and testing. Our nuclear station operators spend 20% of their time in classroom and simulator training.
of our nuclear station operators’ time is spent in classroom and simulator training
Natural Gas Safety
We use a wide array of diagnostic tools, preventive maintenance programs, and oversight techniques to identify and mitigate potential issues long before they can become a problem. Among them:
- A pipeline safety management system that uses a holistic approach to enhancing pipeline safety by promoting safety awareness, vigilance, and cooperation company wide. The Pipeline Safety Management Systems Plan includes the systematic, measurement-based approach to identify areas for improvement and share that information widely.
- An underground storage integrity management program that includes a life cycle approach, including well design, construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance, and abandonment using effective procedures, training, documentation, and record retention.
- A transmission integrity management program that includes threat identification, risk assessment, integrity assessments, remediation, preventative measures, performance and quality assurance, patrols, around-the-clock monitoring, cathodic protection monitoring, and long-term pipeline replacement programs.
- A distribution integrity management program that includes threat identification, risk assessment, performance measurement, and results monitoring.
- Separate distribution programs to monitor excavations based on risk, leak surveys, cross-bore verification, and root-cause analysis of significant pipe damage.
- Public awareness campaigns to educate the affected public, public officials and excavators about damage prevention awareness, hazard awareness and prevention measures, leak recognition and response, call-before-you-dig requirements, pipeline location information, pipeline purpose and reliability, pipeline product and potential hazards, company contacts and response information.
- Public liaison meetings with local emergency first responders and public officials to educate and prepare for joint responses to natural gas emergencies. Topics covered include emergency capabilities and preparedness, leak recognition and response, pipeline location information, natural gas properties and hazards, company contacts and basic pipeline-safety information.
- Emergency response training focused on proactively familiarizing employees on emergency response plans and the priority of public and employee safety.
- Emergency shut-down systems located at specific facilities that can be activated when a leak or rupture occurs. (See the “To the Rescue” sidebar elsewhere in this report.)
- Damage-prevention efforts that include risk modeling software, high risk interventions, partnerships with 811 One-Call Centers, damage prevention certification, an 811 “ambassador” program, and more.
In 2021, our gas distribution business segment adopted several new safety measures. These included a new process for conducting and documenting safety self-assessments, new procedures for responding to indoor gas leaks and gas-filled structures, a formalized stop-work authority program, and the deployment of more than 500 personal gas detection monitors for our employees.