Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) has earned high-level health and safety recognition from the Vermont Department of Labor after a rigorous review of company operations and management.

The certification comes through the Green Mountain Voluntary Protection Program, which is administered by the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA). The program is the state version of the federal Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

VEC is the only power distribution utility in New England currently with the recognition, and joins just five other non-utility organizations across Vermont with the certification.

“That VEC has achieved this recognition is a visible demonstration of our commitment to safety, not just for our own employees but for our members and the public at large,” said John Varney, Safety and Security Manager at VEC. “We are very proud.”

VEC’s preparation for VOSHA’s on-site review took more than five years and addressed a total of 28 safety and health elements. During the on-site review, VOSHA compliance officers conducted an intensive inspection of VEC’s four district facilities and dove deeply into VEC’s safety programs. The review included 14 formal interviews and more than 25 informal interviews.

To be recognized, VEC had to demonstrate a strong history of management commitment to safety and employee involvement in safety programs. VEC also had to show strong processes for worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and employee safety and health training.

According to state officials, VEC’s success in the designation shows an exceptionally deep level of commitment to safety.

“Attaining this recognition means VEC is committed to extraordinarily high safety standards,” said Vermont Commissioner of Labor Lindsay Kurrle. “VEC is leading by example, and we hope other organizations across the state consider taking similar steps to support safety in their operations,” she said.

Kurrle visited VEC during an all-employee meeting Thursday, Dec. 14, to recognize the VEC accomplishment.

Besides VEC, the other organizations in Vermont with the designation are: Ben & Jerrys in St. Albans, Curtis Lumber in Burlington, Energizer in Bennington, GE in Rutland, and GlobalFoundries in Essex Junction.

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