Today marks an important safety milestone at Prairie State’s power plant as our team celebrates one year without a recordable or lost time incident. This accounts for over 446,000 hours of work performed with superb safety performance. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classifies recordable incidents as any work-related injury or illness that requires treatment beyond first aid.
“The safety standards and performance at the power plant have made drastic improvements over the past four years. We set a new vision for our campus and have worked every day to make our campus safer,” said Don Gaston, President and CEO of Prairie State. “In an industry where we have to be as efficient, productive and safe as possible, this achievement is all the more notable.”
Since 2017, the power plant team has been working towards the goal of achieving “star site” certification under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). The VPP recognizes employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintained injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their industries. Prairie State submitted its VPP application to OSHA at the end of 2019 and continues to work daily to improve safety culture and processes.
At the heart of our campus safety programs are our employees. Both the power plant and mine have employee-driven safety teams to help maintain continuous improvement of our safety processes. The power plant boasts four cross-functional, multi-discipline safety teams: Safety Committee, VPP Committee, STORM (Safety Through Observation, Reliability, and Mindset) Team, and LOTO (Lockout Tagout) Committee. These employee-driven teams have created a renewed sense of ownership and have enabled employees to become more involved in the problem-solving and decision-making necessary to achieve this milestone.
PRAISE FOR EMPLOYEE FOCUS ON SAFETY
“Achieving and sustaining an injury free workplace demands passion for people, focus on controlling risk, an openness to change, and an understanding that safety is not just numbers, but an integral part of doing business. This milestone proves that not only do we want to work safely and compliantly, but we can.” –Randy Short, Chief Operating Officer
“I’m incredibly proud to lead such a dedicated group of people. It’s easy to look at a milestone like this from the outside and take it at face value, but I know how much time, thought, and personal interest has been invested to make our power plant a safe one. I wish my congratulations to the entire team.” –Ken Pollmann, Senior Vice President of Power Generation
“I am really proud of everyone at the plant and their involvement with our safety and health processes that led to this milestone. We are always looking for ways to improve a process and our employees are key to making those improvements. The entire PSGC team has contributed to this success, and I am grateful to work with them every day.” –Nathan Knop, Power Plant Safety Manager
“We should all be proud of this milestone at the power plant. This could not have happened without everyone’s commitment to safety. If we keep focusing on continuous improvement, we will have many milestones in the future.” –Sean Landgraf, Chair of VPP Committee
“As a mechanical maintenance technician here at Prairie State, we face risk every single day. Between the large industrial equipment we repair and operate, to the high energy systems that we troubleshoot and maintain. Risk is always there. The biggest factor that I feel has led to this milestone in safety, is the way in which we have learned to manage the inherent risks that exist. It is through this behavior-based safety process that we are able to identify at risk areas or barriers to safety that exist throughout the plant. This is an employee driven program that gives everyone at the plant ownership in safety. Together with the strong commitment and backing of management, our STORM process has undoubtedly been a major contributor to this awesome achievement.” –Jon Elder, STORM Team Leader
ABOUT PRAIRIE STATE
Located in Washington County, Illinois, the Prairie State Energy Campus is a technologically advanced electric generation facility utilizing domestic Illinois coal resources from its adjacent underground mine to power its 1600 megawatt power plant. With more than 650 employees, Prairie State is one the area’s largest employers. Since 2012, Prairie State has been providing baseload electricity on behalf of its not-for-profit Owners to more than 2.5 million families across the Midwest.