Sustainability : Safety first

Safety first

AES businesses place the highest priority on making safety our way of life. It is the top priority for all AES people, contractors and communities, and it is our most important value across our culture, businesses and daily operations. Every AES person has the power and authority to stop any activity, perceived to be unsafe.

The AES main goal in Bulgaria is improving lives by providing safe, reliable and sustainable energy. We aim to achieve 100% commitment of every staff member and contractor to comply with our safety procedures and this is the way towards creating World Class Safety Culture.

There are four AES Safety Beliefs that are in the core of the AES Bulgaria Occupational Health and Safety Management System:

  • Safety comes first for our people, our contractors and the individuals in our communities, and all work activities worldwide need to be conducted in a safe manner that promotes personal health, safety and well-being.
  •  All occupational incidents can be prevented.
  • Working safely is a condition of employment and each person is responsible for their own safety as well as the safety of their teammates and the people in the communities in which we work.
  • All AES people and contractors have the right and obligation to stop work as soon as they identify a situation they believe to be unsafe.

The Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management System ensures the maintenance of health, safety and the environmental control measures in the enterprises. It is in compliance with ISO BS EN 14001: 2004 Environmental Management Systems Specification and Guidance for Use and OHSAS 18001: 2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management System Specifications of the International Organization for Standardization.

The Occupational Health and Safety Management System is applied to all activities for exploitation and maintenance, and all connected to them business activities performed by AES. It comprises:

  • Health and Safety Policy / Environmental Policy
  • Compliance with Environmental and Health and Safety Regulations
  • Environmental Aspects and Impacts
  • Risk Evaluation and Operational Control
  • First Aid, Med Services and Occupational Health
  • Health, Safety and Environmental Procedures
  • Contractors’ Management
  • Inspections, Walks and Audits
  • Health, Safety and Environmental Management Meetings
  • Reporting and Investigation of Incidents
  • Results Monitoring
  • Notifications to Regulatory Authorities
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Safety Rules
  • Documents Management System

AES Bulgaria has an integrated Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Policy. It is applied to all business activities, operational and maintenance aspects of TPP AES Galabovo, AES Waste Disposal Facility and Saint Nikola Wind Farm. The introduction of the policy and its operational control are being defined trough written procedures. More than 30 relevant procedures have been developed for all high risk activities. They are being observed by both AES staff and contractors. Here are some of the most important procedures:

  • Risk Evaluation of TPP AES Galabovo
  • Analysis of Work Safety / Analysis of task’s risks
  • Permit-to-work system
  • Notification, Investigation and Reporting of Incidents
  • Selection, Appointment and Management of Contractors
  • Internal Audits Conduction
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan
  • Rescue and Emergency Repair Works Conduction Plan
  • Proactive Safety Management

Operational control and implementation of the Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management at our plants is done through a series of planned inspections, safety walks and audits. These activities aim to provide control, independent assurance of implementation and effectiveness and compliance of the adopted health, safety and environmental measures with the current legal regulations and AES Corporative standards.

The Safety Walk is a process of systematically observing working conditions and activities and interacting with workers to identify and eliminate unsafe conditions and unsafe behaviors. Usually Safety Walks are performed by managerial staff and include interaction with people after observing them for the express intention of providing feedback affirming good safe work practices and behaviors and correcting those practices and behaviors that are not good/safe.

Safety Inspections is another way of surveillance of workplaces with the explicit purpose to identify, document and organize corrections of hazardous conditions. They are being performed by non-managerial staff of the company. They do not include equipment inspections whose primary purpose is other than occupational safety (e.g., fire extinguisher inspections, boiler inspections).

Work Activity Observation is planned activity where the observer identifies both unsafe conditions and unsafe behaviors seen while observing a specific work activity or workplace location. They may involve or not involve follow up interaction with the workers that were observed. However, they are always characterized by follow up action to correct any unsafe conditions or unsafe behaviors that were identified. Work Activity Observations often involve peers observing fellow peers.

Annually, next to the corporate and regional goals, AES Bulgaria sets annual safety goals, which include the number of walks and inspections every staff member is obliged to carry out.

In AES Bulgaria there is an established process of registering, analysis and tracking of corrective actions of the observation  detected during safety walks and inspections. A software-based system has been introduced to facilitate the process. It is called SOAR and has the functionality to check when and how corrective measures have been undertaken. All findings of the safety walks and inspections are being reported to SOAR. They concern positive events when workers have shown safe work practices, events related to Safety as a whole, such as workplace hazards, property damage, accidents and potential ones, hygiene problems, as well as positive and negative events related to labor discipline. Every staff member, contractor and visitor has the opportunity to report such events using the SOAR system. 

S stands for Select
O – for Observe
A – for Act
R – for Report

SOAR’s purpose is to achieve visible commitment of staff and management, to prevent dangerous behavior, reduce or eliminate accidents and occupational diseases, which will improve the health and safety culture in AES.

External audits

AES is subject to both external and internal audits in relation to its Health and Safety Management. Regular external integrated EHS audits are initiated and performed by AES Experienced EHS Professionals from various business units of AES Worldwide.

Internal Audits

Operational staff trained in the procedures conducts an internal audit every six months, with the primary purpose of imposing self-control and continuous improvement.

The aim of audits is to ensure the continuous compliance with AES Corporate EHS standards, identify potential non conformity or gaps, exchange experience, knowledge and best practices.

Audits from State Bodies

Interaction with General Labor Inspectorate is established in order to ensure compliance with the relevant local BG legislation.