Brunner Island recertified in federal safety program
PPL’s Brunner Island has been recertified for the second time as a "Star" facility under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program, or VPP.
As part of the VPP Star program, certified facilities must show continuous improvement on an annual basis and have a recertification audit every three to five years. VPP is a national program that recognizes companies that exceed federal compliance levels to reach new standards for worker health and safety. The Star certification is the highest safety recognition given in the program.
"The criteria for receiving ‘Star’ certification are very demanding," said Tom Hickes, plant manager. "The criteria for recertification are even tougher because OSHA is looking for continual improvement in safety programs and performance."
Keeping people safe requires attention to detail, support from everyone in the plant and a high degree of labor-management cooperation.
"We’re very fortunate to have all of those ingredients in place at Brunner Island as we work to achieve our ultimate goal – an injury-free workplace," Hickes said. "I’m proud of how our employees place a high priority on safety. Effective safety rules and work practices are consistently enforced to protect plant employees, workers from other companies and visitors."
During the three-day recertification audit, the OSHA representatives spoke directly to about 80 employees, either in groups or individually.
"One of the biggest things the OSHA representatives commented on was the amount of employee involvement in the recertification process and the fact that all employees seemed to be on the same page when it comes to safety at Brunner Island," said Mike Mannix, chairman of Brunner Island’s VPP team and chief steward with Local 1600 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
In the recertification process, OSHA inspectors physically evaluate the plant, review safety policies and procedures, and interview plant employees to verify that safety policies are being put into place. OSHA evaluates management leadership, employee involvement, work-site analysis, training, and hazard prevention and control.
Brunner Island first achieved VPP Star status in 2003, and received its first three-year recertification in 2006. The plant is now on a five-year recertification schedule.
Many other PPL facilities in Pennsylvania and Montana have earned VPP Star status as well.
New bypass paves way for reduced truck traffic
When the first truck traveled on the York Haven bypass road, it marked a milestone that had been in the making for many years.
The Brunner Island power plant has been working closely with area residents and local officials to address truck traffic to and from the plant, a major concern in the York Haven community.
With the York Haven bypass now complete, truck traffic is being safely rerouted away from the residential areas of town. PPL paid for construction of the bypass, and will cover the cost of road maintenance.
The road, nearly a mile in length, starts just off the north end of Brunner Island and reconnects with Route 382 west of York Haven. Route 382 will be widened near the entrance as part of the work.
In addition, efforts were made to minimize erosion along the road.