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Thompson Falls Hydro Team Honored for Safety Effort

Jul 02, 2015

Butte, Mont. – July 2, 2015 – Employees at NorthWestern Energy’s Thompson Falls Dam have been honored for their workplace safety efforts by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

The Thompson Falls hydro facility was recently recognized with re-approval as a Voluntary Protection Program Star Facility. The Voluntary Protection Program recognizes work sites that demonstrate exemplary safety performance that goes beyond compliance with safety regulations. Such approvals can occur every five years and are attained through the completion of a rigorous multi-day audit by a team of OSHA VPP representatives.

The VPP process promotes a safety partnership between management, workers and OSHA and encourages shared ownership of safety and health responsibilities. Along with promoting safer workplaces, the VPP program can help reduce off-the-job injuries and illnesses.

The hydro operation in Thompson Falls first received the Star Facility distinction in 2011. Currently, there are just nine VPP sites in Montana and only 2,214 across the nation. Just 0.03 percent of businesses nationwide achieve Star Facility status.

“It’s an honor to recognize the hard work of our Thompson Falls employees and their ownership of our safety culture through this VPP program,” said John VanDaveer, manager, Hydroelectric Generation for NorthWestern Energy. ‘With VPP core values of continuous improvement to our work areas and establishing a strong safety culture, we have seen major improvements in both areas through this program. Our thanks go out to the Thompson Falls employees and everyone within our company for their support and commitment to the VPP program.”

Employees at the Thompson Falls hydro operation include operators William Beckman, James Daugherty, Robert Rice and Noel Jacobson, the facility’s foreman. The workers are scheduled to be honored at an employee breakfast on July 10 in Thompson Falls. The event will be part of the hydro facility’s centennial celebration festivities on that day.

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NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 692,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.  More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at

Media Contact:
Butch Larcombe
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