OSHA Award

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The Willow Island Power Station went online in 1949. The Pleasants Power Station began operation on the same site 30 years later. More than 250 people work at the two plants, and they've been honored for meeting strict safety standards.

"These two power stations are two of our excellent operating stations, and supply a large amount (of power) to our customers. (The employees) do their job very well, and it's an honor to recognize them," says Jay Pifer.

The company, and the community, can't forget the accident during the construction of the Pleasants Power Station in 1978, but it's hoped this ceremony will focus on something different: workplace safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the collapse of one of the cooling towers under construction at the time, where 52 workers lost their lives. OSHA is also the sponsor of the safety award presented to the plants' workers.

"It does bring home what happens when workplace safety takes a back seat to other issues. There were many families who were absolutely devastated by that event, and I'm sure that remains in the minds of lots and lots of people," says Marie Cassday.

And there's a belief that this award is a new beginning for an industry, a community and its future. Allegheny Energy, which owns the Willow Island plants, has taken part in the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program since 2000.