Health and Safety
Why Managing It Matters
EQT is committed to achieving superior safety performance every day. Through continuous improvement efforts, we provide a safe and healthy workplace for our workers and strive to create and maintain a zero-injury culture. EQT does not prioritize business objectives above safety objectives.
EQT conducts our active business operations in accordance with the applicable health and safety requirements established by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other regulatory bodies. We closely monitor our health and safety risks, operations and statistics to ensure safe worksites, proper training and motivation to work safely. We work to continuously identify and evaluate opportunities for improvement and believe that all EQT workers are accountable for ensuring a safe working environment and culture.
EQT’s Safety Department, led by our Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety, is ultimately guided by the Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility Committee of the board of directors. EQT personnel conduct regular meetings with the company’s senior leadership team to review and analyze issues and provide direction to enhance overall safety performance.
Employees are personally accountable for their individual safety and play a critical role in ensuring the safety of colleagues, contractors and service providers. As part of the company’s overall corporate social responsibility performance objective, which is an annual metric, all EQT employees have an individual “workplace safety” performance objective. In addition, safety is embedded in our employee short-term incentive plan.
Environment, Health and Safety Policy
To emphasize the importance of occupational health and safety, EQT’s Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Policy underscores the principles that guide us toward superior EHS performance. Health and safety highlights from our policy include:
- EQT will provide and foster leadership to ensure all employees and contractors understand their responsibilities and that we provide all employees with the training and support necessary to integrate EHS principles into their work.
- We will manage our business to prevent incidents that could result in harm to people, communities, property or the environment.
- We will commit the resources necessary for successful implementation of our EHS Policy.
Safety Management System and Risk Identification
EQT’s safety management system (SMS) enables the company to systematically identify and properly manage our workforce safety risk. It covers all aspects of the company, our employees and contractors, and all locations — from drilling rigs to offices. The EQT SMS includes the company’s Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Policy, workforce safety information, awareness and training, safety procedures, performance monitoring, safety verification processes and qualified safety experts to lead the process.
The core of EQT’s SMS is the identification, prioritization and management of our safety risk. Through EQT’s detailed risk and hazard analysis (RHA) process, our objective is to relentlessly pursue, establish and sustain proper safeguards using a hierarchy of safety controls. Before any fieldwork begins, the RHA requires a systematic safety review of the site construction plan and all daily onsite workforce activities. If a task is deemed unsafe, everyone has the obligation and authority to stop such work without fear of retribution or discipline. To ensure the RHA functions properly, the company uses a multi-layered verification process — a qualified team of internal and external safety experts oversee observation, testing, inspections and audits. Verification results are shared with EQT’s leadership team, and, if potential weaknesses are identified, actions are taken to strengthen them.
EQT encourages employees to communicate with management about issues or initiatives that could help improve overall performance. Although this format does not require the establishment of formal joint management-employee committees, EQT has found the development of these teams to be beneficial. For example, joint committees collaborated to update upstream equipment gas hazard spacing requirements, enhance the risk quantification processes at operating well pads, and to install permanent lockout-tagout equipment stations on operating well pads.
We set annual targets to reduce injury and vehicle accident rates. In addition, EQT prioritizes the reporting of near-miss incidents to help identify common issues and prevent future incidents. In 2018, key near-miss lessons learned included prevention of dropped objects (potential struck-by incidents), vehicle safety (potential for slow-moving vehicles to lose traction), and slips/falls during winter months. Our analysis also revealed opportunities to prevent hand/finger injuries through the use of push/pull sticks and pipe rolling tools. Opportunities to prevent truck rollovers on EQT lease/access roads were identified and include reducing vehicle speed, implementing unidirectional traffic flow patterns and requiring vehicles to avoid potential soft shoulders that may have been affected by inclement weather.
As a responsible corporate citizen, EQT shares our best safety practices with our peers to help improve overall industry safety performance. One example is EQT’s active membership in the ISNetworld® Appalachian Working Group (AWG). The AWG constitutes a group of natural gas producers that share safety-related best practices and innovations to improve safety performance within the Appalachian Basin.
In June 2018, we launched a new safety culture program for our workers called ZiP Today, an acronym for “Zero is Possible – Today.” This program is emblematic of a safety culture wherein the EQT workforce believes that each day presents a new opportunity for them to take an active role in living and working safely — in the field, in the office and at home — with zero safety incidents.
The ZiP Today platform includes positive worker safety recognition, sharing of lessons learned and take-home ZiP Today safety kits. In 2018, EQT sent two safety kits, including items such as safety glasses, gloves, lip balms and hardhat stickers, directly to employee office mailboxes.
Through the ZiP Today platform, EQT employees are asked to commit to always making our safety, and that of everyone around us, a top priority. In one instance, an employee took her ZiP Safety Kit home with her and gave the safety glasses to her son to wear while doing yard work. A short while later, the son returned with a sizeable chip in his glasses; while weed whacking, a stone was launched toward his face and the glasses helped to protect his eyes from that particular hazard.
Training, risk mitigation and performance monitoring form the core of EQT’s workplace safety initiatives. Every EQT employee — including short-service employees — receives core safety training annually, along with more frequent specialized training tailored to the work performed and the types of issues faced. EQT customizes specialized training subjects and delivery methods as needed. For example, monthly safety meetings held with field employees cover issues such as:
- Stop-work authority
- Personal protective equipment
- Incident reporting and investigation
- Emergency preparedness
- Outdoor safety
- Safe driving
- Industry specific technical safety training
On average, full-time EQT employees received approximately seven hours of safety training during 2018.
With contractors making up approximately 90% of EQT’s total work hours, we recognize the importance of working with companies committed to superior safety performance. A contractor expecting to perform services in drilling, construction, maintenance or other operations-related activities at EQT must pass a qualification process (described below) and must agree to adhere to EQT’s Contractor Safety Standard and Contractor Safe Work Rules. These safety requirements, updated regularly to reflect best practices, apply to all work performed by a contractor’s employees and the employees of their subcontractors.
EQT uses ISNETWorld® — an industry-recognized platform for monitoring safety metrics and performance — to qualify contractors before they obtain authorization to begin work for EQT. ISNETWorld® provides vital information regarding a contractor’s performance in the following key areas:
- Safety Management Systems
- Injury and illness statistics
- Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection compliance
- DOT motor carrier safety rating
- Written safety programs and safety training
- Experience modification rating
- Fatality history
Within our Procurement Department, EQT’s Contract Administration group collaborates with the Safety Department to oversee all new contractors' compliance with our standards and to carry out safety directives relative to contract status for existing suppliers. If a contractor does not meet our expectations, Procurement collaborates with ISNetworld® and the Safety Department to work with them to seek improvement. If they do not improve, EQT terminates the contractor or places the contract on hold — and, in turn, Procurement recommends a safer service provider. Existing contractors who fail to meet the rules and standards cannot continue to work on an EQT work site.
EQT remains engaged with our contractors as work evolves to ensure we achieve our joint commitment to safety. We track contractor safety incident rates (injury and vehicle accidents) provided by contractors via ISNETWorld®, and our contractor safety auditing process is incorporated in EQT’s contractor safety qualification program.
As part of EQT’s continuous improvement of our contractor safety management program, the company performed the following in 2018:
- Updated our contractor safe work rules
- Established a contract worker safety orientation program
- Led contractor safety meetings covering a multitude of joint safety topics
- Held significant incident review meetings with contractors involved in high-potential consequence incidents
- Further expanded the presence of EQT safety teams at our worksites
- Enhanced the EQT contractor safety audit program to focus on the contractor’s safety management system
Through incident data and root cause analysis, we identify our most significant areas for improvement. Safe driving is an area of particular concern for EQT. Our wellpad activities result in heavy truck traffic causing several-fold increases in truck traffic for surrounding communities. EQT continued many fleet safety initiatives in 2018 to improve traffic safety, including employee behind-the-wheel driver training, safe driver initiatives, speed restrictions and vehicle curfews for contractor traffic and enhanced enforcement.
Our 2018 safe driving initiatives included:
- Mandatory EQT employee safe driver training sessions: Avoiding a Rear End Collision, Proper Following Distances and Winter Weather Driving
- Third-party expert behind-the-wheel driver safety training
- Mandatory EQT employee viewing of Do Not Disturb video regarding the use of company cell phones while driving
- EQT employee initial and regular refresher training on all-terrain and utility task vehicles
- Trailer safety training
- Recurring contractor fleet safety meetings with the company’s contracted water and sand hauling companies’ leadership teams
- Water hauler metric safe driving indicator expansion
For additional information regarding our road safety initiatives, see Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
Occupational Health Services
Healthy employees are more adept at performing their roles safely. To this objective, our Medical Services team plays a key role ensuring the occupational health of company employees, providing advice and teaming with the EQT Safety Department on repetitive motion hazards, industrial hygiene results and the potential for elevated noise exposure. The Medical Services team is accessible to all EQT employees 24/7 each day of the year.
Evaluating Our Approach
Tracking and Reporting Accidents
If a safety incident does occur, EQT records the nature of the event as prescribed by the OSHA injury/illness recordkeeping requirements in a safety incident management database. After each incident, the company conducts a thorough incident review to clarify possible causes, identify options to prevent recurrences and highlight opportunities to improve training, processes and procedures using the hierarchy of safety controls. EQT personnel also conduct regular incident review meetings with senior management.
By tracking and analyzing safety incidents, we can assess the effectiveness of our approach to safety management and strive for continuous improvement. We supplement our OSHA metrics with a Serious Injury and Fatality (SIF) metric. SIF incidents tracking allows us to better assess our safety program’s progress and to detect increases in high potential consequence risk.
EQT develops safety bulletins to address safety incidents and to share lessons learned within our workforce. These bulletins describe the incident and its impact to help inform, educate and prevent a future occurrence. They are distributed to appropriate functional groups based on the topic of each bulletin.
Although the tracking of lagging indicators is important, we believe tracking leading indicators — such as near-miss incidents — is an equally important way to improve safety performance. We require information concerning near-miss incidents to be reported and recorded in our safety incident management database. Tracking and reporting near-miss incidents enables us to take actions to address at-risk behaviors and workplace hazards.
In addition to the use of safety incident metrics, the company also uses several safety management verification processes to evaluate our safety program:
- Safety team inspection program
- Safety team contractor safety auditing program
- External (third-party experts) Safety Management System and worksite auditing program
We analyze all results from our safety verification programs for potential systemic causes. As a result, we establish actions to ensure continuous and sustainable program improvement.
In 2018, EQT revised our Safety Incident Reporting and Investigation Program requirements. This standard provides tools and procedures for classifying incidents and near misses; standardizes notification requirements and action timelines for incidents and near misses; and ensures an appropriate investigation is conducted based on the severity of each incident. Additionally, EQT updated its suite of safety management programs to ensure ongoing continuous improvement.
With expanded training, risk assessment and other preventive measures, EQT worker injuries — OSHA recordable incidents — declined in 2018. As part of EQT’s data analysis process, we identified that approximately 35% of EQT’s combined worker 2018 OSHA recordable incidents were hand/finger injuries. To address this risk, EQT issued a mandatory workforce glove policy during the fourth quarter of 2018 and initiated a hand/finger injury awareness program. In 2018, EQT experienced one employee ill health case. An employee working in the field experienced hearing loss and, as a result, we have increased awareness and education on noise hazards and the proper use of hearing protection.
We establish contractor injury rates using hours recorded in ISNetworld® by our contractors. The contractor rates are companywide, not regionally based. EQT does not track contractor absentee rates or injury rates by gender. Three contractor ill health cases occurred in 2018: two outdoor weather exposures (cold, heat) and one skin irritation case. Immediate actions were taken to address identified causes.
|Lost time accidents – employees†||4||0.29||0||0|
|Recordable work-related injuries (including fatalities) – employees||20||1.43||6||0.49|
|Main types of work-related injury – employees||Slip and fall, struck by/against or insect bites||Nearly 65% caused by slip and fall, struck by/against or insect bites|
|Non-employee worker fatalities||1||0.01||2||0.01|
|Lost time accidents – non-employee workers†||12||0.20||29||0.24|
|Recordable work-related injuries (including fatalities) – non-employee workers||63||1.07||97||0.79|
|Main types of work-related injury – non-employee workers||Nearly 70% either struck by/against, slip and fall, or hand and finger injuries as a result of being caught in or between equipment|
†Number of lost work days per 100 FTE.
In the past two years, lost-time accidents have primarily been caused by moving objects (rig blocks, hose, cribbing) striking workers, finger injuries from caught in/between equipment, or slip and fall incidents. In response, EQT issued a mandatory workforce glove policy during the fourth quarter of 2018 and initiated a hand/finger injury awareness program. In 2019, we will update EQT workforce safety procedures and training programs to further drive awareness and responsibility.
|# of fatalities as a result of work-related ill health – employees||0||0|
|# of cases of work-related ill health – employees||1||1|
|# of fatalities as a result of work-related ill health – non-employee workers||0||0|
|# of cases of work-related ill health – non-employee workers||2||3|
*2017 contractor data includes midstream operations (excluding MVP); 2017 employee data was restated to exclude midstream operations.
Exposure to outdoor weather (cold, heat) and skin irritation (e.g., poison ivy) pose the biggest risk of ill health for employees and contractors. We have increased awareness and education on how to safely and effectively conduct outdoor activities and taken immediate action to identify and address causes.
We were devastated by the deaths of two contractors in the company’s upstream operations in 2018. Both incidents occurred during water truck hauling operations, and have spurred conversations to increase driver safety and awareness across the company. The number of incidents related to our water hauler trucks declined steadily in 2018, in large part due to an increased focus on and investment in safe driving.
*Employee data includes only Production and Corporate (excludes midstream) for 2016, 2017, and 2018 employees retained after the separation of Equitrans.
†EQT began tracking contractor PVA rates in 2017; 2017 and 2018 data include EQT midstream information.