SoCal Edison admits award-winning safety data was flawed
The company told the California Public Utilities Commission that it would give up or return to the agency $35 million in payments it received based on flawed workplace safety data, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Many of the ratings were distorted because of inadvertent omissions. Other information was kept out of the reports by managers, the company said.
"What this appears to be is an incentive...to underreport injuries. That's what happened here," said Robert Cagen, a PUC staff attorney.
Company officials said the problem mostly stemmed from minor safety incidents, but Edison still planned to return all the bonuses.
"We're just going to offer to give it all back because we don't have a database to support it," said Stephen Pickett, Edison's general counsel.
Company officials said most of the problems in the safety reporting came from Edison's failure to record first-aid incidents, such as requests for bandages or ice packs, the Times reported.
"We've discovered that we simply never set up a comprehensive system of tracking and reporting the first-aid cases," Pickett said.
The company also said it found evidence that incentives rewarding good safety practices "may have discouraged the reporting of some incidents" and may have produced "pressure to not report injuries."
The company said it would amend its filings with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).
The bonuses include $20 million the company has already received, plus $15 million it was expected to receive for 2001 through 2003.