Veolia Water Shares Safety Record

Veolia Water North America set a new safety performance record for the third consecutive year, continuing to significantly outperform private-industry water, wastewater, and other systems as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The company’s Lost Time Incidence Rate (LTIR) – injuries or illnesses resulting in time away from work – was an impressive 0.7 versus a BLS average of 2.1, according to the most current data. Statistically speaking, its results were 66 percent better than the national average.

Veolia Water’s Recordable Incidence Rate (RIR) was 3.1 versus a BLS average of 5.7. RIR includes medical treatment, restrictions and transfers, and lost-time injuries, or illnesses. The company’s RIR performance was approximately 46 percent better than the national average.

“For three straight years, our employees have set new company records and what we believe is the water industry standard for a safe working environment,” said Laurent Auguste, president and chief executive officer of Veolia Water Americas. “These are not numbers on paper but the daily lives and well being of each of our team members. Our goal is to improve upon these results yet again in 2009.”

While safety statistics for industries vary by sector and there is no single repository of safety statistics at a municipal level, Auguste said that Veolia Water consistently improves worker and workplace safety in municipal and industrial working environments.

The company’s two largest contracts offer evidence of worker and workplace safety improvements. Employees in Indianapolis, the nation’s largest public-private partnership for water services, logged the best safety record in the utility’s history, reducing the RIR from 8.8 in 2003 (the company’s first year of managing operations) to 2.7 during 2008. Auguste credited employee adoption of an aggressive continuous improvement program. In Milwaukee, Veolia Water concluded its first year of a partnership with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District by reducing the RIR by approximately 14 percent.

Employees in Leominster, Mass., are now celebrating an unprecedented 25 years without a single lost-time accident. The team of 12 provides water and wastewater services to a community of approximately 45,000 people and operates three water treatment facilities, one wastewater treatment facility, and nine sewer pumping stations.

Veolia Water North America began operations and maintenance of Leominster’s wastewater treatment plant in 1983 and, in 1996, began operating all three water treatment plants. The project has received numerous EPA, state government, and industry awards including the George W. Burke Jr. safety award by the Water Environment Federation. The Leominster partnership has also provided substantial savings for Leominster, estimated at $300,000 annually in overall operating costs, as well as a projected $2 million savings on a new 2.0 million-gallon-per-day reservoir water treatment plant.

Project Manager Bob Chalifoux credits the success to a dedicated staff. “Our team has embraced safety as a cultural necessity. We all work together as a team to achieve all our goals. I couldn’t be more proud to work with a great group of responsible individuals. Our culture means that every person on our team takes turns leading safety meetings. This has reinforced the team safety approach by including everyone in the process,” Chalifoux stated.

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