HPower Plant Earns Safety Recognition

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - July 26, 2006
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The city’s HPower plant at Campbell Industrial Park has been honored through the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ Hawaii Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (HI-SHARP).

HPower takes municipal garbage and turns it into renewable energy, which is sold to Hawaiian Electric Company. Through its contract with the City and County of Honolulu, its work frees up significant landfill space while reducing use of fossil fuels. The project began in 1990 and currently provides about 7 percent of Oahu’s electrical power, according to HPower figures.

To be cited by SHARP, said HPower business manager Rodney Smith, “means that you’ve reached a plateau in safety.” Smith credited all the employees and HPower’s facility operations manager Robert Webster for running the plant and being a great role model for assuring that the 150 employees “live and breathe safety.”

With more than 330,000 man hours spent yearly among rotating equipment such as shredding hammers, conveyor belts and generators (operating at 850 degrees and 900 pounds per square inch of pressure), Smith said achieving the safety status is no easy task. OSHA (Office of Safety and Health Administration) staff interview employees in-depth to determine their safety IQ. They also inspect the operation to see if equipment is properly guarded, he said, and if the company practices what it preaches.

“That’s why we’re so proud of it. “Safety and environmental performance is just as important as profitability and cash flow,” added Smith, who has worked for the company since 1999. In his previous position at Hawaiian Dredging, he also helped build the HPower plant.

Covanta Honolulu Resource Recovery Venture (HPower’s official name) has one more goal, Smith said: “to get to the next and the highest level of safety achievement, Star VVP.”

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