The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Department Presents Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s Mesquite Solar 1 Plant With Its “STAR Site” Recognition
First-ever solar plant in Arizona to receive this recognition
(PHOENIX – Oct. 13, 2015) – The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) Consultation Department presents Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s Mesquite Solar 1 plant as a “STAR Site” through the Voluntary Protection Program “VPP.” This is the first time a solar plant in Arizona has been recognized and awarded by ADOSH. Companies and jobsites that are awarded the STAR designation demonstrate exemplary and comprehensive safety and health management systems.
On Friday, Oct. 16 at 11 a.m., ADOSH will hold a VPP Ceremony, where Sempra U.S. Gas & Power will be presented with the VPP plaque and flag in honor of this designation. During the ceremony, Jessie Atencio, assistant director and consultation and training program manager of ADOSH, will speak on the significance of a VPP achievement and its importance to the State of Arizona.
“Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s Mesquite Solar 1 plant has demonstrated that it takes safety seriously at all levels,” said Atencio. “It is exceptional to see the solar plant earn this designation because it is the first of its kind in Arizona, and we know the team has set high standards for safety.”
VPP is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) highest program of recognition across the United States. 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 that are more than 50 percent below the national average.
To qualify for VPP status, 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 program. VPP participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status.
“The health and safety of our employees is our top priority,” said Kevin Gillespie, senior director of construction and operations for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. “We are honored to be recognized by ADOSH for our strong safety culture and programs, which impact not only our employees at Mesquite Solar 1, but also the surrounding community.”
Mesquite Solar 1 is among the largest photovoltaic solar plants in North America. The 150-megawatt (MW) solar facility is the first phase of the 4,000-acre Mesquite Solar complex, located in Arlington, Ariz., about 60 miles west of Phoenix. Jointly owned by Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and Consolidated Edison Development, Mesquite Solar 1 taps into 300 days of sunshine each year to generate emission-free solar power for about 56,000 homes without the use of precious water supplies. The solar plant was completed in 2012 and created more than 500 construction jobs at peak. By year-end 2016, Sempra U.S. Gas & Power expects to bring two additional phases of Mesquite Solar complex online, bringing the operating capacity at the site to 400 MW.
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 Sempra U.S. Gas & Power
Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, LLC is a leading developer of renewable energy and natural gas solutions with power plants that generate enough electricity for nearly 600,000 homes. Sempra U.S. Gas & Power companies also operate natural gas storage facilities, pipelines and distribution utilities. The company is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2014 revenues of $11 billion. The Sempra Energy companies' 17,000 employees serve more than 32 million consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.SempraUSGP.com.