Raytheon Company's Integrated Defense Systems Seapower Capability Center in Portsmouth, R.I., has been approved for three years of participation in the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The defense contractor was officially welcomed into the VPP at the Star level, the program's highest, by OSHA and other officials during a VPP flag-raising ceremony held in Portsmouth.
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 Seapower Capability Center is the sixth Raytheon worksite in the nation to be so honored.
"The Star designation reflects the successful, mutual commitment by Raytheon management and workers to establishing and maintaining employee safety as a priority here in Portsmouth," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "Instead of simply reacting to work-related hazards, they proactively analyze, anticipate and eliminate them before they lead to injury and illness. This approach is effective and commendable."
The Portsmouth site's VPP acceptance comes after an OSHA team's five day onsite review found its safety and health programs consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants and its injury and illness rates more than 60 percent below the industry average. Nearly 1,700 employees, many represented by Local 587 of the International Aerospace and Machinists, are employed at the facility.
The Seapower Capability Center joins more than 2,110 worksites nationwide representing more than 270 industries that have earned entry into OSHA's VPP. Requirements include a high degree of management commitment and employee involvement; a high-quality worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control program; and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective, in place and in operation for at least one year before a company can apply to join the VPP. Companies in the VPP achieve average injury and illness rates 50 percent below the Bureau of Labor Statistics average for other companies in their respective industries.
Other Raytheon facilities in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky and Texas have earned entry into the VPP. Rhode Island is home to five other VPP worksites: Modine Manufacturing Company, West Kingston; Tiverton Power, Tiverton; WJAR-TV 10, Cranston; and the U.S. Postal Service post offices in Pawtucket and West Warwick.