Bob Glanzer Generating Station
Helena, Mont. – March 31, 2023 − On Wednesday, NorthWestern Energy celebrated the recertification of Hauser Plant as a "Star" worksite in the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Programs.
VPP “Star” worksite is the agency’s highest level of recognition for workplace safety and health excellence.
“It is a pleasure getting to work with people like you and sites like this,” said Chris Magnuson, NorthWestern Energy Manager of Labor Relations and Technical Training.
Hauser Dam has participated in the OSHA VPP program since August 2011.
“It’s very difficult to get into the VPP process, and even more so to maintain as an active participant, that’s a heck of a thing,” Jim Messer, OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist, said at Wednesday’s celebration. “You should all be very proud of yourselves.”
OSHA's VPP recognizes work sites committed to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards. VPP-designated sites are required to comply with all OSHA and NorthWestern Energy safety rules, and are also required to go above and beyond in terms of safety. The program is designed to create a proactive safety culture, where all employees are on the lookout for potential hazards and are working toward continuous safety improvements.
In OSHA’s Region VIII, which includes Montana, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, there are 74 VPP sites. In Montana, there are 10 VPP sites, four of which are NorthWestern Energy hydroelectric facilities.
“You represent the lion’s share of VPP sites here in Montana,” Messer said.
NorthWestern Energy Director Hydro Operations Jeremy Clotfelter, Hydro Superintendent Jeremy Butcher, Hauser Plant foreman Dan Kokoruda, Operator Maintenance Journeymen Dan Heavrin and Jared Green and Manager of Labor Relations and Technical Training Chris Magnuson display the VPP flag presented to the Hauser Plant crew for recertification in the OSHA program. NorthWestern Energy photo
The Star Program is designed for exemplary worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health management systems. Companies in the Star Program have achieved injury and illness rates at or below the national average of their respective industries. These sites are self-sufficient in their ability to control workplace hazards.
VPP relies on employee engagement and employee involvement to drive workplace safety, explained Jeremy Butcher, NorthWestern Energy Hydro Superintendent.
Each year, the entire crew at each VPP site gets together and makes a list of safety goals and priorities. At Hauser, those goals have included the replacement of out-of-compliance stairways, added fall protection and machine guarding.
“This is not a NorthWestern Energy company recognition; this is a Hauser crew recognition,” said Jeremy Clotfelter, NorthWestern Energy Director of Hydro Operations. “They earned it, and they deserve it.”
The average VPP worksite has a lost workday incidence rate at least 50% below the average of its industry, according to OSHA. Only 0.02%, or 2 out of every 10,000, workplaces nationwide are VPP certified.
Star participants are reevaluated every three to five years. Hauser Dam was recertified in the Star Program in 2019, but the celebration was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hauser Dam is one of four NorthWestern Energy facilities recertified in OSHA’s VPP Star Program. Others are Holter Hydroelectric Project, Madison/Hebgen Hydroelectric Project and Thompson Falls Hydroelectric Project.
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About NorthWestern Energy (Nasdaq: NWE)
NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as NorthWestern Energy, provides essential energy infrastructure and valuable services that enrich lives and empower communities while serving as long-term partners to our customers and communities. We are working to deliver safe, reliable, and innovative energy solutions that create value for customers, communities, employees, and investors. This includes bridging our history as a regulated utility safely providing low-cost and reliable service with our future as a globally-aware company offering a broader array of services performed by highly-adaptable and skilled employees. We provide electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 764,200 customers in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Yellowstone National Park. We have provided service in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and in Montana since 2002. More information is available on the company's Web site at www.northwesternenergy.com.
Jo Dee Black