DTE Energy's River Rouge Power Plant Receives State's Highest Workplace Safety and Health Award
June 8, 2012 -DTE Energy's River Rouge Power Plant received the Star Award, Michigan's highest workplace safety and health award, today from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
"On behalf of Governor Snyder, it is a distinct honor to welcome the DTE Energy River Rouge Power Plant into this exceptional group of Michigan ‘Star' companies," said LARA Deputy Director Rob Nederhood. "We applaud your outstanding corporate dedication to protect your workers while you help fuel Michigan's economic recovery."
LARA Deputy Director Rob Nederhood and MIOSHA Consultation, Education and Training (CET) Director Nella Davis-Ray presented the MVPP Star Award to Plant Manager Vinay Bhakkad, Field Safety Specialist Jason Cousino, Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), Local 223, and the Site Safety Committee, who accepted on behalf of all River Rouge employees. The employees and guests attended the ceremony and luncheon.
The following DTE Energy officials attended the ceremony and offered their congratulations to employees: Gerard M. Anderson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, DTE Energy; Steven E. Kurmas, President and Chief Operating Officer, Detroit Edison; and Paul Fessler, Vice President, Fossil Generation, Detroit Edison.
Also participating were Michigan Senator Morris Hood III, Michigan Representative Paul Clemente, River Rouge Mayor Michael Bowdler and Wayne County Deputy CEO Hester Wheeler.
Bhakkad notes that the award is the result of many years of hard work and commitment by plant employees. "When we were notified in March that River Rouge would be receiving the Michigan Voluntary Protection Program Star Award," he said, "it was the apex of many years of audits, reviews of hazard prevention and control efforts, safety training reviews, assessment of management's commitment to safety, and a pledge to stay safe from each of the 150 employees who work here."
This is the most prestigious safety and health award given in Michigan. MIOSHA established the MVPP program in 1996 to recognize employers actively working toward achieving excellence in workplace safety and health. Since 1999, Michigan has recognized 29 MVPP Star companies. The MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division manages the MVPP program.
The River Rouge Power Plant has 150 employees, many of whom are represented by the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), Local 223. The incidence rates at the plant are well below the industry average for their NAICS code 221112 - Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation. Their total recordable case rate (TRC) was 1.6 in 2008, 0.0 in 2009, and 1.6 in 2010, compared to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average of 8.4 in 2008, 6.5 in 2009, and 6.2 in 2010. The total days away/restricted cases (DART) rate was 0.0 in 2008, 2009 and 2010, compared to the BLS industry average of 4.1 in 2008, 3.5 in 2009, and 3.8 in 2010.
The MIOSHA review team − Doug Kimmel, Team Leader and CET MVPP Specialist; Jeff Kelley, CET Senior Safety Consultant; Brenda Cani, CET Safety Consultant; and Fred Kirkland, Jr., Industrial Hygienist − conducted 25 formal and 33 informal interviews during the site visit. The team examined each of the required elements of their safety and health management system, and found them to effectively address the complexity of the hazards at the site.
"National VPP sites experience 60 to 80 percent less lost work day injuries than would be expected of an average site in their industry," said Davis-Ray. "Not only does the MVPP program significantly reduce injuries and illnesses - it also has a tremendous impact on the bottom line."
The River Rouge Power Plant received the MVPP Rising Star award in 2010, and has worked diligently to receive star status. Specific goals the facility attained to reach Star status include:
- In Employee Involvement, the safety culture has evolved into a system where all employees are involved, engaged and empowered.
- In Hazard Prevention and Control, they have improved their emergency response procedures, identified almost all valves in the plant to ensure safer startup/shutdown procedures, and implemented procedures for personal air monitoring.
Areas of excellence at the River Rouge Power Plant include:
- An electronic database has been built to control the site's "Lockout/Tagout" program. The program requires tags to be place by an operator, followed by independent verification, and monitoring performed by a protection leader.
- During the summer months, the plant invites employees from other Fossil Generation plants to perform a "Fresh Eyes Audit" to help identify things that may have been overlooked.
- Management has implemented a program using "Walkdowns" to emphasize hazard recognition and communicate safety goals and objectives to all team members.
- A Safety week was held in July 2011 that consisted of activities such as the "Clean Sweep" housekeeping event to help engage employees in safe work practices.
- A "Combustible Dust Program" was written and implemented to control dust during the unloading of coal.
The River Rouge Power Plant received the CET Platinum Award on March 29, 2011, for going more than six years and 1.8 million work hours without a lost-time accident. River Rouge is the first power plant in Michigan to achieve platinum award status.
DTE Energy has key corporate goals to make sure that employees at all their facilities have a safe and healthy work environment. Their workplace safety goals include:
- To focus on increasing hazard recognition and on the proactive behaviors that help prevent injuries;
- To strive to improve learning from one another;
- To continue to reduce incident rates; and
- To increase their potential for sustaining long-term improvement.
This is the third DTE facility to qualify for the MVPP Star Award. he DTE Fermi 2 Power Plant received the Star Award in 2004, with recertifications in 2007 and 2010, and the DTE Milford Compressor Station received the Star Award in 2008.The DTE Kalkaska Station received the MVPP Rising Star Award in 2011.
The River Rouge facility embraces the DTE Detroit Edison Fossil Generation Group's Vision/Mission: "We power the progress of society by generating energy valued by our customers. We are recognized for our commitment to safety, environmental stewardship and community involvement. We are flexible and adapt to change. We aggressively drive toward reliability, efficiency and lower cost through continuous improvement. We lead our industry in operational excellence by being engaged and dedicated. We are a learning organization that constantly seeks input and opportunities to improve."
DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, coal and gas midstream, unconventional gas production and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at www.dteenergy.com.
For more information about MIOSHA, please visit www.michigan.gov/miosha
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