(Phoenix, Ariz.) –The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) Consultation Department recently acknowledged the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station as a “STAR Site” through the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). Companies who are awarded the STAR designation demonstrate exemplary and comprehensive, safety and health management systems.
VPP is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) highest program of recognition across all United States OSHA organizations. It recognizes employers and workers in private and federal workplaces who have exemplified effective safety and health management systems to achieve injury and illness rates more than 50 percent below the national average.
“We thoroughly inspected Palo Verde and found the most rigorous of safety standards were being upheld,” said Jessie Atencio, assistant director and consultation and training program manager for ADOSH. “Their team should certainly be proud of the strides they have made in order to ensure a safe working environment.”
ADOSH representatives conducted the audit of Palo Verde’s safety practices at the 4,250-acre plant site, located 55 miles west of downtown Phoenix. Palo Verde was presented with a STAR Status flag that was raised ceremoniously.
To qualify, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo an onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. VPP participants and sites earning the “STAR Site” designation are re-evaluated every three to five years in order to remain in the programs. VPP participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status.
Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) operates under an approved plan with the U.S. Department of Labor to retain jurisdiction over occupational safety and health issues within Arizona, excluding mining operations, Indian Reservations, and federal employees. This jurisdiction encompasses approximately 2.1 million employees and 130,000 public and private establishments. For more information on ADOSH, Consultation Partnership Programs and the Industrial Commission of Arizona, please visit http://www.ica.state.az.us/ or call (602) 542-5795.
About Palo Verde
The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, located about 55 miles west of downtown Phoenix, has been the largest power producer of any kind in the United States since 1992. Its three units are capable of generating more than 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
Because of its desert location, Palo Verde is the only nuclear plant in the United States that does not sit on a large body of water. Instead, it uses treated effluent from several area municipalities to meet its cooling water needs, recycling approximately 20 billion gallons of wastewater each year.
Palo Verde, which has an economic impact of approximately $1.8 billion annually and is the largest single commercial taxpayer in Arizona, is operated by APS and is owned by a consortium of seven utilities in the Southwest. APS owns 29.1 percent of the plant.