Detroit Edison's Fermi 2 Nuclear Plant Receives State's Highest Safety and Health Award

Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

July 26, 2004 -  Detroit Edison's Fermi 2 Power Plant received the Michigan Voluntary Protection Program (MVPP) Star Award today from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) for workplace safety and health excellence. The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG).

"It is a distinct honor to welcome Detroit Edison's Fermi 2 Power Plant into this exceptional group of Michigan 'Star' companies. We applaud your safety and health excellence," said DLEG Director David C. Hollister. "Your dedication to employee safety and health, as you provide the power that is fueling Michigan's economic recovery, has made this outstanding achievement possible."

DTE Energy Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Douglas R. Gipson, who accepted on behalf of all Fermi 2 employees. Joining Gipson in accepting the award were a number of Fermi 2 employees who have been instrumental in helping the plant achieve its outstanding safety record, including Don Cobb, director, nuclear production; Lynda Craine, environmental safety and health supervisor; George MacAdam, senior safety and health engineer; Mike Sneider, retired mechanical maintenance journeyman and Mike O'Dell, Fermi Division bargaining unit chairman, Local 223, Utility Workers Union of America.


"This award is especially gratifying because safety has always been the top priority at Fermi 2," Gipson said.  "As the operators of a nuclear power plant, our primary objective is to protect public health and safety - and we have an unblemished record in that regard. Worker safety is an integral part - the most important part - of operating the plant safely. Our employees have embraced the safety-first mindset in everything they do and this award belongs to each and every one of them."


There are about 760 Detroit Edison employees and about 160 contract employees working at Fermi 2. The Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, Local No. 223, represents the utility employees. 


This is the most prestigious safety and health award given in Michigan. MIOSHA established the MVPP program to reward worksites with outstanding safety and health management systems that go beyond MIOSHA standards. MVPP companies have created a work environment where everyone accepts responsibility for safety every day. Since 1999, Michigan has recognized 16 MVPP Star companies.


William T. O'Connor, Detroit Edison vice president, Nuclear Generation, said during the award ceremony that safety is a focus of all work performed at Fermi 2. "The nearly 1,000 employees at this site have demonstrated a single-minded dedication to safe work practices," he said. "Safety is the first thing considered when any task is being planned and it's the overriding concern as the task is being carried out. A ‘safety-focused culture' is not just a concept or a goal at this plant; it's how we work every day. It is an honor to accept this award on behalf of each and every employee."

The Fermi 2 plant's incidence rates are well below the Michigan average for their SIC code, 491, Electric Services, which is considered a high-hazard industry. The Total Case Incidence Rate for the Fermi 2 plant was 2.3 in 2001, 0.8 in 2002, and 1.4 in 2003 - compared to 5.0 each year for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average. The Total Days Away/Restricted Cases (DART) Rate for the Fermi 2 Power Plant was 0.9 in 2001, 0.1 in 2002, and 0.7 in 2003-compared to 2.5 each year for the BLS industry average.

"National VPP sites experience 60 to 80 percent less lost work day injuries than would be expected of an average site in their industry," said MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski. "The Fermi 2 plant's outstanding safety and health record sends a strong message to all employers that safety pays."

The Detroit Edison Fermi 2 Power Plant has an exemplary safety and health record, and has exhibited outstanding leadership in recognizing that a comprehensive safety and health program is critical to successful businesses today. The plant is committed to achieving excellence in environmental, health and safety protection.

On their road map to reaching Star status, the Fermi 2 facility has met the rigorous MVPP Star program requirements. The MIOSHA MVPP Review Team examined each of the five required elements of the site's safety and health management system and found them to be consistent with the high quality of MVPP programs. The site meets all MVPP requirements, and all MIOSHA standards are appropriately covered.

Areas of excellence include:

OWLS (behavior-based safety observation) program,

Pre-job briefings,

Shift turn-over meetings,

Onsite, full-time EHS (environmental, safety and health) department,

Onsite, full-time radiation protection staff,

Personnel Safety Accountability Process (requires excellence in safety and health from all site employees and contractors),

Employee safety and health training,

Management and salaried staff held accountable for safety and health in annual performance evaluations,

Written safety and health programs/checks and balances,

Safe work performance criteria for every job, and

Auditing, accident investigations, surveys and monitoring.


Detroit Edison is an investor-owned electric utility that generates, transmits and distributes electricity to 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan. Founded in 1903, it is the largest electric utility in the state, and the 7th largest in the nation. Detroit Edison is a subsidiary of DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE), a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Information about DTE Energy is available at

Read more Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth news releases.