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VPP Star Site Wheelabrator Technologies: Saving a Life - The Best Safety Award Given

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VPP Star Site Wheelabrator Technologies: Saving a Life - The Best Safety Award Given


Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Waste Management, Inc., of Houston, Texas. Wheelabrator Technologies owns and operates 21 facilities incouding 16 waste-to-energy facilities and five independent power production facilities. These facilities are located in ten states ranging from New Hampshire to southern Florida to the west coast. Wheelabrator's facilities have a combined electric generating capacity of 836 megawatts which is enough energy to power more than 900,000 homes. Wheelabrator's waste-to-energy facilities have a solid waste disposal capacity of 21,340 tons per day - as much trash as disposed of daily by more than nine million people.

Wheelabrator Westchester is a certified Star worksite under OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) - the government's highest safety award. VPP Star certification recognizes the outstanding efforts of managers and employees who have achieved exemplary safety and health management systems (SHMS). Safety is a core value throughout the Wheelabrator organization and is practiced each and every day at all facilities.

Success Impact
Testimonial: Employees' Commitment to VPP Results in Saving a Life

On Thursday, May 15, 2008, a contractor from International Valve and Instrument Corp suffered a heart attack within the waste-to-energy facility. While working on a boiler on the ninth floor, the contractor started to feel ill and called for help on the plant telephone. His call was heard throughout the plant and soon it became clear he was experiencing a heart attack. Immediately, Wheelabrator employees reacted to the emergency.

By using an automated external defibrillator (AED), employees were able to stabilize him and monitor and administer treatment as required, while waiting for the paramedics. Once help arrived, several employees assisted the paramedics in moving the gentleman down from the ninth to the fifth floor where the elevator is located; CPR and shock treatment were administered several times throughout the process. The contractor was transported by paramedics to a local hospital for further treatment.

"I am extremely proud of the way all of our employees reacted. Everybody pitched in, did what we've all practiced and trained for," Westchester Plant Manager Peter Kendrigan said. "Whether they held a door, helped bring the emergency equipment to the area, assisted in bringing the contractor down five floors, it all added up to a positive result: life."

Kendrigan also added he was equally impressed that, even while under the pressures of the situation, employees had hard hats and safety glasses for the paramedics to put on before entering the facility. "We enforce these safety measures everyday, but to see the policy maintained during an emergency situation, gave all of us a higher understanding of the level of importance safety is to our facility."

"Becoming a VPP Star worksite was not just an exercise to develop and practice exceptional safety and health programs, but it has also strengthened our employees' commitment to safety. It is this level of commitment that resulted in the calm and swift reaction to a life and death situation from all our employees. They saved a man's life, the best safety award given." Mark Weidman, President, Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc.

Origin: Region II, Tarrytown Area Office

Entered VPP: June 2005

Industry: Waste Treatment and Disposal (NAICS Code 5622, SIC Code 4953)

Employees: 66

Employers: 1

Source and Date: Melissa Lohnes, Region II, Tarrytown Area Office (June, 2008).

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