“By far, this is the safest job site I have ever been on,” said electrician Bobby Dehart.
Dehart said that the reason he feels so comfortable on this industrial construction project is because of the Blue Grass plant’s safety culture that led to the project’s recertification under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). The project was originally recognized with VPP Star status three years ago, and recertification is a standard process at the three-year mark.
Dehart serves as the chair of the Star Team, the worker group responsible for heading up the recertification effort.
“Recertification was an approximately one-and-a-half year process,” Dehart said. “It was like a whole new certification. We had to check everything again, go through all of our safety policies and procedures, and put it all in book format for OSHA.”
VPP safety certification involves four main elements:
- Management, leadership and employee involvement
- Worksite analysis
- Hazard prevention and control
- Safety and health training
The Star Team focused on these four tenets and multiple subcategories as they collected information in response to a 28-page information request by OSHA as part of the recertification process. The same held true as they did mock walk-downs on the construction site to prepare for an OSHA site visit.
The safety culture also extends outside of the construction site. Team members discuss this and other site safety programs with new hires in the project’s new-employee training seminars to ensure the Blue Grass safety culture takes hold from the first day.
“The end result of all of our work, and the driving impetus for us to strive for the VPP certification initially, is the safety of everyone who works on the Blue Grass project,” said Del Powell, safety specialist. “This recertification serves the project well in our goal to make sure every worker goes home safely and in the condition they arrived in at the beginning of their shift.”