Covanta Energy of Southeastern Connecticut (Covanta SECONN) has been approved for an additional three years of participation in the prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Preston energy-from-waste facility continues at the Star level, the program's highest level of achievement. The renewal follows an OSHA team's onsite review, which included an examination of the facility's safety and health management system, interviews with employees and a complete tour of the plant.

"This Star renewal pays tribute to the continuous, effective commitment by Covanta and its 38 employees at the Preston plant to identify, minimize and eliminate workplace hazards," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "The priority they place on employee safety and health is reflected in their enviable and unbeatable illness and injury rate. The Preston plant recorded no injuries or illnesses in the past six years."

Among the plant's areas of excellence are a comprehensive program to analyze, identify and address hazards associated with each job and task, discussion and correction of near-miss incidents, an annual safety day for trash haulers who deliver to the plant, and active promotion of safety and health within its industry and the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association.

Covanta SECONN is one of more than 2,110 worksites nationwide that have earned entry into OSHA's VPP. Employers that have been accepted into the VPP represent more than 270 industries. Requirements include a high degree of management commitment and employee involvement; a high-quality worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control program; and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective, in place and in operation for at least one year before a company can apply to join the VPP. Companies in the VPP achieve average injury and illness rates 50 percent below the Bureau of Labor Statistics average for other companies in their respective industries.

Eighteen other worksites in Connecticut are currently in the VPP, including Covanta facilities in Bristol, Hartford and Wallingford.