Hydroelectric Plant Receives “Star” Status from OSHA
Holster Dam receives the highest level of recognition for workplace safety and health excellence.
When the Occupational Safety and Health Administration puts out a press release, we are trained to believe it is going to be about something tragic, an injury or death on site, perhaps large penalties or a long list of violations and citations. This time, however, there is nothing but good news.
On February 23, the agency announced the certification of NorthWestern Energy’s Holter Hydroelectric Plant in Wolf Creek, Montana, as a “Star” worksite in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs. This recognition is the highest level for workplace safety and health.
According to the press release, the “Star” designation recognizes employers and employees who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of workplace safety and health hazards. It also recognizes companies’ development, implementation and continuous improvement of their safety and health management systems.
OSHA said that Holter Dam was recognized because the company prioritized safety through daily meetings where employees discussed workplace hazards and safety. It also had regular community outreach by employees at the dam in support of their emergency preparedness plans.
"We conduct outreach to more than 100 people on a regular and annual basis to ensure we're prepared in the event there is ever a major issue with the facility that would threaten the workers or the public," said NorthWestern Energy Operations and Maintenance Superintendent Jeremy Butcher in the press release. "This results in a regularly exercised program with our partners, as many of the dams are in close proximity and the same responders and major players are often involved."
The agency said that employees at Holter Dam are regularly trained and equipped to perform lifesaving first aid and work with local law enforcement, fire departments and contractors to ensure familiarity with the facility and access points to help expedite emergency responses.
For more information about OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs, visit their webpage here.