The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE), announced phase one of its Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, located along I-40, exit 219, just east of Flagstaff, Ariz., is the first construction project on the Navajo Nation to be awarded the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Certification for safety excellence in the workplace.
The VVP-Star is the highest accreditation a company can earn for safety standards through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and was achieved in collaboration with the project’s general contractor Hunt Construction Group. Hunt Construction Group is also a VVP Star Contractor, and the only contractor in Arizona recognized by Arizona Department of Safety and Health (ADOSH), to be allowed to fly the VPP Star flag on every construction project in Arizona. Out of more than 31,000 employers in the state of Arizona, only 34 are permitted to fly the VPP-Star flag.
“It is an honor to be recognized by OSHA for the efforts we’ve taken to create a safe, high-quality work environment,” states Derrick Watchman, CEO of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. “Hunt Construction Group has been a valued partner in this process and together we will continue making the safety of our employees our top priority as we complete an additional 110 resort rooms and the Hózhó Spa during phase two.”
NNGE’s Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort achieved the designation through five areas:
- Upper Management Commitment – Executives of both NNGE and Hunt Construction Group meet with potential subcontractors and employees before they are hired to discuss safety standards and expectations.
- Employee Involvement – New hires participate in rigorous orientation, weekly safety meetings and ongoing job hazard analysis training so they can look at the specific job they are doing, what hazards are present and how to protect themselves from injury.
- Work Site Analysis – All companies working on the project are required to perform a Job Hazard Analysis to identify the hazards associate to their work and key measures taken to remove or isolate those hazards to reduce injuries and illnesses.
- Hazard Prevention and Control – Inspections of the work areas and observations of work activities by the General Contractor, the subcontractors, the workers and NNOSHA assist the workers in identifying predictable hazards and controlling the working conditions.
- Ongoing Safety and Health Education – Hunt Construction Group conducts weekly Toolbox Talks, facilitates the job hazard analysis training and provided 10 hours of OSHA training to any Navajo Nation member for free.
“It has been a privilege to partner with the NNGE to achieve this safety standard and together provide employees with knowledge to protect themselves on our job site and with future projects on the Navajo Nation,” said Robert Hart, Executive Vice President & Division Manager of Hunt Construction Group. “As the only VVP Star certified contractor in Ariz., we are extremely grateful to the Navajo Nation for allowing us to fly the VPP Star flag on the Twin Arrows site, which is sovereign nation.”
In addition, the NNGE earned a top safety award through NNOSHA (Navajo Nation OSHA) this summer as part of its ongoing commitment to safety during the construction and development of its Fire Rock Navajo Casino, Flowing Water Navajo Casino, Northern Edge Navajo Casino and Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort during the past five years. NNOSHA had an open door on the projects, which allowed the workforce to have access to NNOSHA safety professionals to communicate any concerns.