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600 days without a workplace accident at California water distric

Cal/OSHA instituted a program called the California Voluntary Protection STAR (Cal VPP/STAR) program several years ago. The program is designed to recognize companies, both public and private, with outstanding safety records. Recently, a water district in southern California was recertified and holds an impressive record of having gone 600 days without a workplace accident.

The Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) has participated in the program since 1999 and achieved certification every time. The EMWD holds the distinction of being the only water district to receive national recognition from a STAR program. Further, it is the only public agency in California to achieve the certification and keep it.

Obtaining the Cal VPP/STAR certification is not easy. A company undergoes a stringent safety inspection by Cal/OSHA. In the ordinary course of business, EMWD requires its employees to undergo job specific safety training on a regular basis. The training includes topics such as hazardous chemicals, driving and injury and violence prevention. Moreover, EMWD will not work with a contractor that does not maintain the same high standards.

EMWD is dedicated to worker safety and the prevention of a workplace accident. If other public and private companies in the state would follow EMWD's example, the number of on-the-job injuries could plummet. Until that time, injured workers can turn to the state's workers' compensation system when injured at work. Benefits such as payment of medical costs and lost income packages can help with the financial burden of recovery. Of course, most workers would prefer not to suffer an injury at all, especially a serious injury that could cause permanent damage or even death.

Source: waterworld.com, CA water district earns major safety program recertification, No author, Jan. 15, 2014

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