International Paper Corporation's Auburn Container facility in Auburn, Maine, has been recertified for an additional five-year membership at the "Star," or highest, level of the prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The VPP recognizes worksites that are committed to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards and encourages cooperative relationships among labor, management, unions and government.
The Auburn facility, which has 141 employees who manufacture corrugated cardboard boxes, first achieved star status in May 2003. The renewal came after an OSHA team's onsite review, including interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite, found the facility's safety and health programs consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants.
"Working together, employees and management at the Auburn plant have maintained their effective and ongoing commitment to workplace safety and health," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator for New England. "Their joint efforts have resulted in a high-quality safety and health program, and injury and illness rates well below the industry average."
The Auburn plant is one of more than 1,920 worksites in 270 industries nationwide, including 15 sites in Maine, which have earned entry into the VPP. The VPP is open to deserving employers in any industry.
Through the VPP, employers and employees have experienced significant decreases in fatalities, injuries and illnesses; associated cost reductions including lowered workers' compensation expenses; positive changes in company culture and attitudes toward safety and health; and average injury rates 50 percent lower than other companies in their respective industries.