DENVER, 02 July 2007 - A water and wastewater system operated by CH2M HILL OMI for the city of Rio Rancho, N.M., has earned the New Mexico Environment Department Occupational Health and Safety Bureau's highest designation for workplace safety - the "Zia Star" status in its Voluntary Protection Program.
Rio Rancho is the first CH2M HILL OMI-operated municipal water and wastewater system to be recognized with VPP status. The site is one of seven CH2M HILL OMI facilities to achieve top safety awards through the first half of this year.
The Zia Star Voluntary Protection Program is New Mexico's version of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Program, with program elements that mirror federal OSHA.
OSHA VPP recognizes and promotes effective workplace safety and health management. To earn VPP status, companies must have a high degree of management support and employee involvement; high-quality worksite hazard analysis, prevention, and control programs; and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be in operation for at least one year before a company can apply to join the VPP. Government safety and health experts also conduct rigorous on-site evaluations and audits of proposed VPP sites.
"This is like winning the Super Bowl of safety," says Mark Lasswell, CH2M HILL OMI president. "The 'Zia Star' designation reflects the excellence of our companywide practices to ensure safety is our priority consideration as we plan and execute all work activities for and with our municipal and industrial clients."
Since 2002, more than 60 CH2M HILL OMI technical experts have operated and maintained the city of Rio Rancho's water and wastewater system, which includes 22 wells, 13 reservoirs, six wastewater treatment plants, and a water treatment plant. New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau officials will present a VPP flag and plaque to the team at a ceremony to be held later this summer.
In addition to the "Zia Star" Voluntary Protection Program designation, CH2M HILL OMI-operated sites have earned six other safety awards around the country so far this year:
The wastewater treatment facility in West Liberty, Iowa, received the National Safety Council Perfect Record Award. In order to be considered, a company has to complete a minimum of 12 consecutive months without an injury.
The Dodge City, Kan., wastewater treatment facility received the Kansas Water Environment Association's Class C Plant Safety Award for the eighth consecutive year. Plants receive this award for their documented safety program and the plant's safety record without a "loss of time" accident. CH2M HILL OMI in Dodge City has gone more than 7,000 days without a lost-time accident.
The wastewater treatment facility in Key West, Fla., received the Florida Water Environment Association's Top 10 Facility Safety Award. Facilities win this award for their outstanding safety programs and commitment to both public and worker safety.
The Crestview, Fla., wastewater treatment facility won the Florida Water & Pollution Control Operators Association's Top 10 Facility Safety Award. For consideration, a facility must have both outstanding safety programs and commitment to public and worker safety.
The wastewater treatment facility in Fayetteville, Ark., was granted the Arkansas Water Environment Association's Safety Award for cities with populations over 20,000. Facilities that win this award must display outstanding performance and professionalism.
The wastewater treatment facility in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., received the Florida Water Environment Association's Safety Award for facilities with exceptional safety programs.
Clients in government and industry rely on the people of CH2M HILL OMI to provide a range of custom-tailored operations and maintenance solutions. The company's services include water and wastewater system optimization; contract O&M of water, wastewater and other utilities; and complete municipal operations, including administration, public works and community development - all backed by a commitment to safety, quality, innovation and customer service. Founded by CH2M HILL in 1980, the Denver-based company serves clients in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, visit www.omi.ch2mhill.com.
Headquartered in Denver, Colo., employee-owned CH2M HILL (www.ch2m.com) is a global leader in engineering, construction, and operations for public and private clients. With $4.5 billion in revenue, CH2M HILL is an industry-leading program management, construction management, and design firm, as ranked by Engineering News-Record (2007). The firm's work is concentrated in the areas of transportation, water, energy, environment, construction, and industrial facilities. The firm has long been recognized as a most-admired company and leading employer by business media and professional associations worldwide. CH2M HILL has more than 19,000 employees in regional offices around the world.