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OSHA Partners with Black & Veatch for Retrofit Work on Columbia Energy Center

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | December 6, 2012 | Comments Off on OSHA Partners with Black & Veatch for Retrofit Work on Columbia Energy Center

osha partnersOne of the ways the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Labor Department’s work site safety watchdog, helps protect the safety of workers across America is by directly partnering with companies themselves. It’s an initiative that not only has increased the workers’ and their employers’ awareness of workplace hazards but also of their responsibilities to ensure a safe working environment at all times.

One such initiative is the OSHA Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP), in which OSHA partners with American labor’s most important stakeholders (employees, employers, labor organizations, and professional and trade groups) to put up doable goals, and develop strategies and  performance measures to monitor and safeguard worker safety and health.

The OSPP has several models, all of which focus on enhancing safety and health at work. Among these models are those for big construction projects, major corporations or government agencies, and even entire industries. The OSPP is also available to private sector industries. Since its introduction in 1998, the OSPP has forged some 690 partnerships in all, through the years involving 27,000 employers and 1.9 million workers. Today, the program has 78 active partnerships involving nearly 2,000 employers and 216,000 workers.

Recently, OSHA established a partnership with Black & Veatch Construction Inc., which is currently engaged in the Columbia Energy Center Air Quality Control Systems Project in Pardeeville, Wisconsin. The partnership, according to OSHA, aims to identify and control hazards to workers in order to lessen the likelihood of injuries and ill effects to health. OSHA also said that the partnership includes the Wisconsin On-Site Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program, which is funded by the agency but run by the state.

In a media release, OSHA Madison area director Kim Stille explained that the partnership’s goals can be achieved through best work practices, compliance with OSHA standards and regulations, and OSHA training. Stille added that although the partnership is voluntary it nevertheless emphasizes employee participation to realize a safe and healthy place of work.

The Kansas-based Black & Veatch Construction has been contracted to engineer and construct the air quality control system retrofits of existing coal fired units at the Columbia Energy Center.

Coal-burning units are a major source of air pollution in the United States, says ecohearth.com, contributing over 30 percent of the carbon dioxide (a major global warming gas), 40 percent of mercury (a poisonous and cancer causing substance), 25 percent of nitrogen (one of the major ingredients of smog), and over 65 percent of sulfur dioxide (one of the main ingredients of acid rain) dumped into the air annually. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that nitrogen oxides corrode the lungs and sulfur dioxide instigates asthma and can cause heart disease.

 

Image From the National Parks Service [http://www2.nature.nps.gov/air/pubs/Core_Slides/sources.htm source] {{PD-USGov}}

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