2023 NAES Safety Conference Provides Lots of Celebrations

Marlene Decespedes, from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, accepting a check for $15,000 from NAES’s Bobby Barnett, Norm Escover and David Jackson at NAES’s annual Benkert Charity Golf Tournament

NAES’s 2023 Safety Conference netted a lot of participation and celebrations:  In addition to 140 attendees, 76 power plants earned Safety Champion awards, and 91% of NAES’s entire fleet worked Injury free in 2022.

“Our annual safety conference serves several purposes,” said David Jackson, NAES vice president of safety.  “It gives us a forum for sharing safety information company-wide, provides an opportunity for our attendees to network and share experiences and tips with each other, and gives us the opportunity to showcase our plants and teams that have performed at the highest levels.” 

Conference Highlights

The conference kicked off in spectacular fashion with annual Benkert Charity Golf Event that raised $15,000 for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

140 plant safety professionals attended this year’s conference.

91% of NAES-operated plants worked injury free, having no recordable injuries.

76 plants received Safety Champion awards.  To earn this recognition, plants must complete their Safety Improvement Plan, install a safety committee, conduct safety campaigns, and achieve 95% or better on their safety leading indicators, all without having a negligent injury. (See the Champion Award winners listed below.)

Four sites were recognized as “Rising Stars,” sites new to the NAES fleet or sites that may not have reached the Safety Champion award level but made significant strides in their safety program:

Brightmark Demeter RNG

By fully embracing the “NAES Safe” culture, Brightmark Demeter RNG has set the bar for RNG operation in NAES.  Its accomplishments include: Completing its 1st year injury free, completing the 1st anaerobic digester cleaning in NAES operations, and supporting special projects like combustible dust evaluation and hydrogen sulfide removal.

Jackson Generation

Just commissioned in 2022, this is the newest addition to the NAES fleet.  With just 27 staff members, they are already close to achieving all the criteria for Champions recognition.  Among its accomplishments: Developing “Hazard Hunts,” prominently painting tripping hazards and head knockers, and completing their SIP.  The team actively engaged in family and community involvement, including participating in food drives, gift drives at Christmas, donating time and materials to Habitat for Humanity and maintenance of nature trails, and hosting a family picnic.

Beal Project – Severn and Beal Project – Sutton Bridge  UK

Safety is a continuous improvement process, and sites should be encouraged and recognized when making significant safety progress.  Both Sutton Bridge and Severn had the additional challenges of hiring staff and working to bring the facilities back to service while adapting to the NAES-Safe Management Systems to create and maintain a safe working environment for both employees and contractors.  The result: Thousands of workhours were completed without a significant safety incident.

Best-in-Class Awards

Presented to the best Champion Award winners in their respective categories:

0-20K Workhours

A past President’s NAES Safe Award recipient, Orange Grove Energy operates with just seven full time staff.  They maintain their VPP Star status, draft safety alerts, improved walkways and access to GT package, improved security at the fence gate, installed spark-catching cans on the grinder flywheel, and improved comfort in the control room by venting the control panel cooling fans to the roof, both reducing heat and noise.

20K-50K Workhours

A 2021 Rising Star, our hydrogen operating plant, Long Ridge Energy Generation, has risen to Best-in-Class and has gained a lot of press and notoriety for being the first of its kind in the United States.  They went beyond completing their HPI training by bringing in an exceptional trainer to present the material in a more meaningful and memorable way.  Their “Protect Your 4” safety moment – that was shared by a number of other plants, promoted keeping everyone’s furry friends and pets safe in the summer heat. And in addition to conducting a family day, LREG received the Suez “Proof Not Promises” Award, which commends clients that strike the balance between environmental challenges and industrial demands.

50K-75K Workhours

Still somewhat new in the NAES Fleet, Energia del Valle de Mexico II has a robust safety committee that is required to conduct monthly walkthroughs of the plant for both safety and security.  The have a 100% walkthrough completion rate with 90% closing rate for all findings.  Important improvements include adding ladders to access the lubrication skid and purchasing electrical PPE and providing instruction for its proper use.  They have conducted their own campaign on “Safe 4 the right reasons” and produced posters with plant and family members reminding everyone to be safe.  They organized drills under their mutual aid plan, involving local and state agencies, as well as neighbors and the surrounding community.

More than 75K Workhours

Sandy Creek Energy Station completed all its required training on HPI and situational awareness.  They also noted that some of the standard safety training could be improved by adding field practicals, such as using scaffolding to create a classroom ‘jungle gym’ for fall protection and safe harness use.  The site’s safety committee also developed a quarterly safety newsletter for site personnel and created an awareness campaign using posters and banners throughout the site. They held a slogan campaign, with the winning slogan ending up on the banners and hardhat stickers: “Safety – Make a Difference, Not an Excuse.”

Construction Safety

Garrett Electric – Amazon Project Pearl

A great project in the PNW, the project had 60 employees onsite at its peak, totaled more than 56,000 workhours, and had zero recordable injuries.  A subcontractor to the prime, Garrett never had a complaint or safety concern voiced by the prime.  The weather was probably the biggest challenge on this multi-year job site, battling ice storms, snow drifts and single digits in the winter, and 115-degree days in the summer.  As the electrical contractor working on a site with as many as 250 other contracted employees, they worked with the prime to institute a rule that no contractors were allowed to touch any electrical components without first notifying the Garrett foreman.  The foreman would then make accommodations for the work to be performed safely.  Garrett’s professionalism and dedication to safety made a significant impact with the client and the community.

President’s Award

Presented to those companies that both achieved Champion’s recognition and provided evidence of making improvements beyond the normal training, employee engagement and community involvement.

Bronze – Hickory Run Energy

Accepting are: Daniel Bennett and Jason Fox

Daniel Bennett and Jason Fox

  • Doing their best to eliminate slip and trip hazards, they graveled uneven areas, paved areas where the forklift needed to travel, placed raised mats in water filled areas and coated walkways with anti-skid epoxy.
  • Replaced straight ladders with stairways to gain safe access to heights.
  • Enhanced their safety culture by promoting personal health and offering paid fitness memberships and sponsoring a weight loss clinic,
  • Threw a company picnic for family members demonstrating home safety and PPE.
  • Promoted health and safer plant roadways by purchasing 2 wheeled bikes to move throughout the plant.
  • Aided the community by working with the local school to install a 2-way radio repeater and antenna on the HRSG stack to improve communications with their buses throughout the district.

Silver – Kings Mountain Energy Center

Accepting are: Daryl McCullough and Chriss Williams

Daryl McCullough and Chriss Williams

  • This site really takes NAES Safe seriously, the site looks brand new and the housekeeping, level of detail is outstanding.
  • The work execution and attention to detail is amazing.
  • Following the paperwork on SWP, Confined Spaces and Contractor orientation, you’d think you were watching a ‘How to’ video.
  • They implemented a ‘caught in the act of safety’ campaign to recognize employees safety deeds
  • Install hinged access gates to the sump area so samples can be collected without breaking the plane of the confined space,
  • Reduced lifting hazards and pinch points on doors
  • Painted walkway elevation changes, as well as painted cable trays and other items contractors might strike.
  • Employed several “best practices,” including noise enclosures around compressors, heavy staff involvement, safety bulletins, and are in the early stages of VPP.

Gold – CCC Tuxpan II & V

Accepting are: Javier Badillo and Miriam Hernandez Romano

Javier Badillo and Miriam Hernandez Romano

  • Conducted training in HPI, Situational Awareness.
  • Trained employees to be instructors of SafeStart and then trained all 70 employees in SafeStart principles.
  • Started their own ‘Protect Your 4’ Safety Moments, written by plant personnel.
  • Partnered with their regulator on training and safety walks of the facility and even invited them back to observe and participate in fire and other emergency response drills.
  • To promote health and a great place to work, they organized a basketball and soccer tournament.
  • Their community service included helping provide gifts to the civil protection facilities on Firefighter’s Day; ‘
  • Conducted community giveaway gifts to 13 communities, providing building materials donations and with 26 beds donated for people in vulnerable conditions.
  • And as they do every year, they organized and donated 750 filled backpacks for school children in their local community.

Other Highlights

Guests Attending Conference:

Marc Dworkin, Director of Asset Management,  Osaka Gas USA
Joe Atkinson, EHS Director, Brightmark
Mike Kyer, Sr. EHS Manager Brightmark
Erik Laddaga, Corporate H&S for JERA Americas

Randy Jones, Safety Director, Olsson Electric
Matt Statton, Olsson Electric
Kyle Hergert, Safety Manager, Garrett Electric
Norm Escover, CEO, NAES Corporation

Platinum Sponsors

Pro Safety & Rescue
Ambipar Response
Grace Consulting
Arnold Group
Avial Infrastructure Solutions
ORR Corporation

Champion Award Winners (Complete List)

AMP Distributed Generation
AMP Fremont Energy Center
Beal Project – Severn
Beal Project – Sutton Bridge
Big Sandy Peaker
Birdsboro Power LLC
CalPeak Power Plants
Castleton Energy Services, LLC
CCC Tuxpan II & V
Chino – O.L.S. Energy
CI Power Camarillo
City of Dover Van Sant Station
Clear Creek Energy
Commonwealth Chesapeake
Dighton Power LLC
Dogwood Energy Facility
Elwood Energy
Energia del Valle de México I
Energia del Valle de Mexico II
Faribault Energy Park
Ferndale Cogeneration Facility
Frontera Generation
Gibson City
Gordonsville Energy Power Station
Grand Tower Energy Center
Green Country Energy, L.L.C.
Hickory Run Energy
High Desert Power Plant
Hopewell Power Station – Biomass
Hunterstown Generating Station
Johnson County Facility
Kimura – Montpelier
Kings Mountain Energy Center
Kleen Energy
LaPaloma Power Facility
Lawrence County Generating Center
Lee County Energy
Long Ridge Energy Generation
Lordsburg Generating Station
LSP Whitewater Plant
Luna Energy Facility
MEAG Wansley Unit No. 9
Mid-Connecticut – JTF
Middlesex Generating
Middletown Energy Center
Midway Peaking Plant
Midwest Energy-Goodman Energy Center
Milford Power LLC
NEP Starwood Beavers Falls/Syracuse
New Salem Harbor
Noble II Wind Farm
Orange Grove Energy
PHR Peakers
Plains End I&II
Quail Run Energy Center
Rathdrum Power Plant
Red Oak Power
Renaissance Power
Rosemary Power Station
San Joaquin Energy
Sandy Creek Energy Station
Southampton Power Station – Biomass
Tacoma LNG
Tejas Power Generation
Tierra Mojada
Tilton Energy Center
Towanda LNG
Towantic Energy Center
Tres City Power Station
White Creek/Harvest Wind Project
Wolf Hills Energy
Worthington Generating LLC