In celebration of its achievement as a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site through the Kentucky Safety and Health Program (OSH), the Southwire Kentucky Plant in Hawesville held a flag raising ceremony on Wednesday, May 17.
According to OSH’s website, the VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. The purpose of the VPP is to emphasize the importance of, encourage the improvement of and recognize excellence in employer-provided, employee-participative, generally site- specific occupational safety and health programs. In the process, these work sites serve as models for effective safety and health programs in their industries.
“We are very proud of this accomplishment, as we are one of only 12 manufacturing sites that hold this certification in the state of Kentucky,” said Brian Blair, plant manager. “It has been an eight-year journey for us, and during this time we have had extensive interaction with representatives from OSH, helping us to achieve this goal.”
Throughout its journey to VPP, employees at Southwire’s Kentucky Plant worked diligently to understand and identify areas for improvement. Major focuses for these improvements included upgrades or additions to machine guarding, safety equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the implementation of new workplace practices. Employee engagement was also integral to this achievement through the development of ergonomics teams, hazard identification teams and Behavior Based Safety (BBS) teams.
“Our desire during this whole process has been to keep our people safe while at work,” said Blair. “We want to build habits that keep all of our employees from injury – whether at work or at home.”
As part of the celebration, facility employees, company leadership, OSH executives and state and local officials gathered to share a meal at the facility’s River’s Edge park. Congratulatory speeches were presented by Ryan Goad, safety manager, Brian Black, OSH partnership administrator, Ervin Dimeny, Kentucky’s commissioner of workplace standards and Rebecca Cranford, Southwire’s senior vice president of manufacturing. Guests were also offered the opportunity to participate in plant tours to see the safety improvements that have been made as part of the VPP certification process.
“Safety is the rising tide that raises all ships,” said Black. “You all are leading as the example for safety in the commonwealth of Kentucky, and we are thankful to have you as part of our VPP family.”
For more information on the VPP, please visit labor.ky.gov.