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H-POWER, the City & County of Honolulu’s waste-to-energy facility, received an Excellence in Safety Award today at the 2008 Governor’s Biennial Pacific Rim Safety and Health Conference luncheon at the Hawaii Convention Center.

            The Hawaii Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers and Hawaii Occupational Safety & Health (HIOSH), sponsoring the event, presented first place to H-POWER/Covanta Energy in the category for General Industry Medium Employer.  Covanta Energy, who operates and employs 145 workers at H-POWER, recorded only two injuries, which resulted in 21 days of work missed during the 2007 calendar year.

            “I’m really pleased about this significant safety achievement for our city’s H-POWER facility,” Mayor Mufi Hannemann said.  “H-POWER continues to prove to be an excellent facility for recycling waste-to-energy and reducing our need for landfill space.  To know that its work is done as safely as possible is a bonus.  This recognition is well-earned and well-deserved.”

            H-POWER, the only facility in the state certified for both the Hawaii Voluntary Protection Program (HVPP) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Environmental Performance Track Program, accomplished the highest levels attainable for safety and environmental achievement.

 “Covanta has shown a strong management commitment and employee involvement in regards to safety,” Dr. Eric Takamura, director of the Department of Environmental Services, said.  They provide exemplary service to the City while being one of the safest facilities in the state.”





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            Covanta initiated its “Focus on Safety” program in 2004 involving all its H-POWER employees while improving the facility’s safety culture.  The first milestone for H-POWER was recognition as a SHARP (Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program) facility by Hawaii Industrial Occupational Health & Safety (HIOSH) awarded in June 2006.  All employees embraced the next stretch goal of achieving the HIOSH’s HVVP “STAR” recognition.  Even though Covanta’s employees work nearly 300,000 man-hours per year in an industrial environment, it had a perfect stretch of no OSHA recordable injuries for 19 months from May 1, 2006 through Dec. 1, 2007.

            Last year marked the fourth-straight year H-POWER safety records improved.  In 2004, H-POWER employees lost 407 days due to injuries.  A year later, that total shrank to 190 and, in 2006, it went down to 177.  This past year, only 21 days were lost due to injury.

“Covanta is dedicated to achieving operational excellence.  To accomplish that goal, Covanta’s responsibilities include creating a safety consciousness in all employees and providing the mechanisms that allow and expedite safety as a core value,” Rodney Smith, Covanta’s Facility Business Manager, said.  “We’ve seen a dynamic evolution of the “Focus on Safety” program. All employees now have the authority to stop work to mitigate an unsafe act or condition. Along with this authority, all employees are accountable for safety.”

Entries were evaluated on the following criteria:  management commitment and employee involvement in the safety process; an improvement or continued excellence in results, measured in the number of lost work days, recordable frequency rate or workers’ compensation claim cost; and a documented system for hazard analysis and hazard reduction.



Markus Owens, 768-3454

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

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