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Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
September 7, 2007
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428

Portland's Big Pipe recognized for workplace safety excellence

Expanding Portland's wastewater capacity - safely

A very large Portland construction project is the latest worksite to join the Oregon Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) today presented "VPP Merit Award" status to Kiewit Bilfinger-Berger, the joint venture contractor directing the construction of Portland's East Side Combined Sewer Overflow project, commonly known as the "Big Pipe."

Kiewit Bilfinger-Berger (KBB) employs more than 140 people on the East Side Big Pipe project. The project includes construction of six miles of 25-foot diameter tunnels to connect sewer outflows into the City's West Side network of tunnels, which was completed in 2006. The project has experienced one serious injury to a KBB employee where time was lost from work during 140,000 production hours, and the project maintains a rate for all worksite injuries that is 77 percent below the national industry average for tunnel construction. Construction on the East Side Big Pipe project is anticipated to continue through 2011.

VPP is a workplace safety and health management program that encourages employers to meet rigorous workplace safety standards to protect workers and reduce injuries. To achieve VPP status, a worksite must have an average injury and illness rate at or below the rates of other employers in the same industry. The worksite undergoes an extensive Oregon OSHA review of workplace conditions, safety records, employee safety and health programs, and regulatory compliance. The review includes Oregon OSHA interviews with employees. Currently, 17 Oregon worksites participate in VPP.

Evaluators review 19 program elements during the VPP approval process, including management commitment to safety and health, employee participation in safety, workplace self-inspection, providing safety and health training, emergency programs and drills, and preventive maintenance. VPP participants are removed from Oregon OSHA's routine scheduled inspection list for the duration of their participation. Employees do not lose any rights under the program. Oregon OSHA still investigates accidents, formal complaints, and chemical spills.

Fifteen worksites are members of Oregon OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program. Additional Oregon OSHA VPP sites are AmeriTies West LLC in The Dalles, BOC Edwards Medford Electronic Materials in White City, GE Security in Tualatin, Georgia-Pacific Toledo pulp and paper mill, Georgia-Pacific Coos Bay mill, Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill, iLevel by Weyerhaeuser Beaverton Service Center, Marvin Wood Products in Baker City, Masterbrand Cabinets in Hillsboro, PW Eagle in Eugene, Stanley Hydraulic Tools in Milwaukie, Timber Products Spectrum Division in White City, Utility Vault in Wilsonville, and Weyerhaeuser TOPS Operations in Springfield.

Two federal facilities in Oregon, the United States Postal Service Evergreen DCU in Hillsboro and Washington Group International in Umatilla, participate in the national Voluntary Protection Program coordinated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


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Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer & Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to www.orosha.org.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.