Covanta Haverhill in Ward Hill. (Courtesy photograph.)
All 80 Haverhill firefighters, working in shifts over a few weeks’ time, took time to become closely familiar with Covanta’s energy-from-waste plant in Ward Hill.
It was all part of Covanta’s Voluntary Protection Program, designed to work proactively and cooperatively with officials on emergency measures should they become necessary one day. The company invited firefighters to visit the site and learn about the plant layout, chemical hazards, firefighting equipment and emergency action plan procedures.
“Our facility and my team continue to be committed to the highest safety standards in the industry” said Bill Zaneski, Covanta’s facility manager. The Haverhill plant’s Voluntary Protection Program has been certified by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for more than 10 years. The designation means the company has “implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries,” OSHA says.
Haverhill Fire officials and Covanta are also working on scheduling joint emergency rescue drills and training in the future.
“Being familiar with a facility and training together is an effective way towards efficiency and safety,” said Fire Chief William F. Laliberty.
The voluntary program’s goal is to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses through a system focused on hazard prevention and control, work site analysis, training and a high level of management commitment coupled with workers’ direct involvement.
“The Haverhill fire department’s cooperation has been vital in our longstanding safety and emergency preparedness culture at Covanta and within our Haverhill facility,” said Mark Van Weelden, business manager. “We look forward to commencing joint training drills in the future and thank the department for their service to us and the community,” he added.