The High Cost of Low Engagement in the Energy Industry: Injuries, Fines & Fatalities

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Employee Engagement is critical to the success of all businesses, but it is especially important to those companies within the energy/utilities industry. When employees in this sector are not actively engaged, fines are levied, injuries occur, and employees & customers can lose their lives.

Sadly, energy employees are among the least engaged workers in the nation, ranking 11% less engaged than the national average. That’s pretty terrifying when you take into account that only 33% of the U.S. workforce is actively engaged.

In today’s article, we’ll take a closer look at what this means for energy companies in the U.S. From unnecessary injuries to increased fatalities, the impact can be devastating. Luckily, there is something you can do about it!

A Dangerous Industry

Injuries

Did you know companies with low engagement levels experience, on average, 70% higher safety incidents than those companies with engagement levels in the top quartile? 

That’s right, study after study has concluded that low engagement levels are responsible for an increase in corporate injury incidents. Considering the unusually high injury rates in the energy industry, this is something every utility company should take note of.

For every 100 full-time energy workers, there are 2.2 recorded cases of workplace injuries and illnesses. When you factor in that the utilities sector employs over 554,000 employees, the amount of injuries incurred is astonishing. And with an increase in injuries, there comes an increase in fines.

FINES

Each year, the energy industry is hit with a staggering amount of fines. In just the past few months, we’ve seen two cases that drew national attention due to the company’s failure to engage their workers and provide safe working environments for their teams.

First, let’s go to Georgia, where a local utility company is facing over $112,000 in fines from safety regulators. The proposed penalties come after an arc flash severely burned one of their team members. How did this accident occur?

The company failed to ensure the electrical cabinet was not powered down before allowing work to begin, and they also neglected to develop specific steps to power down machinery and prevent start up during maintenance and servicing. Shockingly, these were actually repeat offenses by the company, being cited for the same violations back in 2014. If only the company had learned from its mistakes, an electrician would not have been severely injured, and the electric company wouldn’t be losing over $100,000. 

These types of fines are not limited to traditional utility companies alone. Two months ago, a Nebraska renewable energy company faced over $50,000 in fines due to safety violations. The company was charged with lack of protection, education and safety practices after a worker was exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas. This same organization is also responsible for the displacement of two dozen families from their home, due to sewer odor issues.

Fatalities

The energy/utilities industry has always been a dangerous one, but it seems that things are getting worse and worse each year. Something very strange happened from 2014 to 2015, the last two years the Bureau of Statistics has published fatality records. In 2014, there were 33 deaths in the utilities industry. That number skyrocketed to 39 deaths in 2015. That’s right, in just one year alone, the amount of fatalities rose by over 18 percent.

How Can We Engage Our Employees

In an industry filled with elevated levels of on-the-job injuries and rising fatalities, the time to act is now! But, how do you create a safer, more prosperous working environment? The key is in employee engagement and recognition.

When you create a Culture of Engagement, one that is focused on recognizing and encouraging your employees, amazing things begin to happen: 

  • There are, on average, 70% fewer safety incidents
  • Quality defects decrease by as much as 40%
  • Turnover rates can decrease by nearly 25%
  • Profitability can soar by as much as 21%
  • Much more!

If you’re committed to engaging your employees and creating a safer work environment, be sure to check out our free eBook, “Safegagement: Creating Safe Companies That Thrive.” Our Safegagement strategy is designed specifically to encourage all employees to participate with the promotion of Workplace Safety, and the eBook is filled with info to help you achieve this.

If you want to learn more about the power of employee engagement, be sure to subscribe to our blog for the most up-to-date information. And if you’re looking to jumpstart your employee engagement efforts, or if you have a specific question you think we can help with, be sure to give us a call.

We’re here to help!

Safegagement: Creating Safe Companies That Thrive

C.A. Short Company partners with companies to manage, drive and facilitate increased employee engagement to increase financial performance, productivity, quality, and core performance outcomes. Our process and research-based platform enables executives and managers to engage their teams to increase the bottom line, motivate staff, and incentivize positive behavior. To Request a Complimentary Consultation, click here.

Topics: Employee Recognition, Employee Engagement, Employee Engagement Strategies, Boosting Productivity, Disengagement,, Culture of Engagement

Tim Towle, Account Manager

About the Author
Tim Towle, Account Manager

Tim Towle is an Account Manager for C.A. Short Company. He has significant experience designing recognition programs unique to his client's needs. With 8 years of experience in the Incentive Industry, Tim knows how to help customers create meaningful, results-driven, successful programs to engage, stimulate, and recognize their target audiences. Towle has the knowledge to help clients meet their short and long-term performance goals. Tim also graduated from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA with a degree in business.

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