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Case study: How Southwestern Energy ensures workplace safety through employee health and safety training

Case study: How Southwestern Energy ensures workplace safety through employee health and safety training

Health and safety in the workplace, not least by establishing a solid safety culture, is a top priority for Southwestern Energy. A comprehensive training system ensures employees gain the skills and knowledge needed to carry out their work safely, with 46,000 hours of health and safety training completed, in 2015, by Southwestern Energy employees.

This case study is based on the 2015–16 Corporate Responsibility Report by Southwestern Energy published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

Striving to guarantee the safety of its employees, Southwestern Energy implements a range of policies and training programs focused on occupational health and safety, updated regularly to ensure effectiveness and employee engagement. In order to ensure workplace safety through employee health and safety training Southwestern Energy took action to:

  • train employees to identify safe and unsafe behaviors
  • offer driver safety training
  • provide crisis response training

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2015–16 Corporate Responsibility Report Southwestern Energy identified a range of material issues, such as risk management, proactive community engagement, company financial health, water quality, sourcing and wastewater management. Among these, ensuring workplace safety through employee health and safety training stands out as a key material issue for Southwestern Energy.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Southwestern Energy engages with:   

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Investors

 

 

 

·         Financial reports and teleconferences (annually and quarterly)

·         Meetings with institutional investors (more than 850 in 2015)

·         Direct contact with Board members

·         Investor conferences and bus tours (54 in 2015)

·         Additional regular contact through  Southwestern Energy’s Investor Relations function

Employees

 

·         SWNet (internal internet)

·         Town-hall style meetings (quarterly by division, and quarterly with Southwestern Energy’s CEO)

·         Support and networking groups

·         Safety training

·         Performance management

·         Connection (triennial employee newsletter)

·          Surveys

·         Leadership and professional development programs

·         Ethics hotline

·         Day-to-day interactions

Contractors

 

 

 

·         Safety Stand Down days and safety training

·         Project meetings at SWN sites to address specific HSE issues and corrective actions

·         Operational reviews by division management

·         Vendor forums and audits

·         SWNlink communications, including operational announcements and quarterly newsletters

Customers

 

·         Regular contact through Southwestern Energy’s Marketing group
Landowners and Holders of Mineral Rights

 

·         Direct, individual conversations and negotiations

·         Monthly payment statements to royalty owners

·         Biannual newsletters

·         Landowner hotline

Local Communities (including residents, elected officials, community groups, chambers of commerce, emergency responders) ·         Regular contact via SWN community liaisons

·         Everyday Heroes events (annually in Southwestern Energy’s operating areas)

·         Employee volunteerism (typically monthly)

·         Safety Stand Down days and safety training

·         Hotlines to field concerns and questions

·         Fundraisers and charitable giving

·         Crisis drills (annually)

State- and Federal-Level Government Officials ·         Open and direct communications

·         Educational sessions

·         Legislative and regulatory engagement

Environmental Organizations and Universities

 

·         Participation in and funding of specific partnership projects

·          Joint research projects

·          Resources for technical assistance

·         Direct communication with relevant SWN employees

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritize key corporate responsibility issues Southwestern Energy interviewed stakeholders and, also, reviewed documents that represented stakeholders’ views, including employees, suppliers, investors, regulators, local communities and nongovernmental organizations.

What actions were taken by Southwestern Energy to ensure workplace safety through employee health and safety training?

In its 2015–16 Corporate Responsibility Report Southwestern Energy reports that it took the following actions for ensuring workplace safety through employee health and safety training:

  • Training employees to identify safe and unsafe behaviors
  • Southwestern Energy implemented, in 2015, the behavior-based STOP For Each Other safety program  Tweet This!, training employees to identify safe and unsafe behaviors in colleagues and discuss behaviors observed, to ensure each other’s safety. Employees’ observations regarding safety issues could be reported through a mobile app and online and, by early 2016, over 5,000 observations were submitted.
  • Offering driver safety training
  • Every employee operating a vehicle for Southwestern Energy has to attend an initial driver training course, passing a test on what has been learned, also taking a required annual refresher course. Additionally, interactive vehicle feedback systems in vehicles owned or leased by Southwestern Energy offer drivers verbal coaching, in case they demonstrate unsafe behaviors.
  • Providing crisis response training
  • Collaborating with local emergency responders, Southwestern Energy offers employees in all operating locations crisis response training. Local emergency responders also participate in such crisis drills, in order for employees to better comprehend the company’s operations and be able to respond properly in emergency situations. In 2015, Southwestern Energy carried out hurricane preparedness training with employees and local emergency responders in Houston.

Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?

The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:

1) G4-LA5: Percentage of total workforce represented in formal joint management–worker health and safety committees that help monitor and advise on occupational health and safety programsthe updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 403-1 Workers representation in formal joint management–worker health and safety committees

2) G4-LA9: Average hours of training per year per employee by gender, and by employee category – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee

 

References:

1) This case study was compiled using published information by Southwestern Energy which is located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses but made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the following link:

http://static.globalreporting.org/report-pdfs/2016/a285e496264a9b619cd2f0aa26379c37.pdf (December 2016)

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Southwestern Energy: With each case study we send out an email to your listed address in request for a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

 

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