CA water district earns major safety program recertification

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PERRIS, CA, Jan. 15, 2014 -- The Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) of Southern California recently recertified with the California Voluntary Protection STAR (Cal VPP/STAR) program for its successful occupational safety achievements.

EMWD was recognized for holding one of the premier safety records in the water and wastewater industries as well as for its more than 600 days without an on-the-job injury. EMWD is the only public agency in California to currently hold the Cal VPP/STAR certification, which it first received in 1999 and has held continually since. Further, it is the first water district nationally to be recognized by a state or federally-administered STAR program.

Instigated by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Cal VPP/STAR program acknowledges public and private organizations that achieve stringent best-practice requirements designed to protect the safety of employees, contractors and the public. By achieving certification, EMWD is not subject to random site visits by Cal-OSHA inspectors.

To achieve recertification, EMWD was subject to an intense safety audit by a team of Cal-OSHA inspectors, which visited every District site in mid-2013. A list of suggested safety improvements was provided and implemented prior to the formal recertification. The list of site- and agency-specific suggested improvements is standard for all VPP/STAR applicants and leads to continuous safety improvement breakthroughs.

As part of ongoing safety efforts, EMWD employees undergo continuous safety training that is commiserate with their job duties that includes injury and violence prevention, drivers education training and classes dedicated to hazardous materials handling. Likewise, EMWD holds its contractors to the same occupational safety standards it sets for its own employees, creating a safer working environment throughout the communities it serves.

A formal ceremony will be held in March, during which Cal-OSHA representatives will be in attendance. EMWD's certification runs through November 2016.

About EMWD

The Eastern Municipal Water District is the freshwater, wastewater service and recycled water provider to a 542-square mile area from Moreno Valley southward along the I-215 corridor to Temecula and eastward to Hemet and San Jacinto. Approximately 758,000 people live and work in this area. In addition to its own water customers, EMWD supplements water to six local water agencies and municipalities that have their own water departments. EMWD operates four water reclamation facilities and treats some 46 million gallons of wastewater daily. For more information, visit www.emwd.org.

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