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USG Corporation announced that its plant in Weirton, W.Va., earned the prestigious Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star award for outstanding safety performance and processes. Officials from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration presented the award and a commemorative flag during a ceremony at the plant on October 7.
The Weirton plant manufactures building materials that are used to construct walls in homes and office. The plant’s primary product, paper-faced corner bead, is used to create interior corners that withstand the wear-and-tear of normal building use. The paper tape covering ensures adhesion of joint compounds, textures, and paints, delivering a smooth finish. The Weirton plant started production in December 1999, and services the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Today, the plant employs approximately 25 people.
The Star is the highest award of OSHA’s VPP. Employees, management and OSHA work together to implement safety and health programs and processes that protect employees more efficiently because they go beyond OSHA regulations. Only 2,000 of more than seven million worksites in the U.S. have achieved VPP Star status. The dedication to safety of the Weirton plant employees and management resulting in the Star Award makes them a model for the industry.
“This award belongs to all USG Weirton plant employees, whose hard work and dedication allowed us to make this facility one of the safest in the nation,” said Gregg Diefenbacher, Weirton plant manager. “USG’s number-one priority is safety. We are very proud of this accomplishment because it validates our commitment to safety excellence, which we practice every day.”
To qualify for VPP Star consideration, Weirton plant employees focused on hazard recognition, engineering controls, training and safe operating procedures during a period of several years. As a result of their efforts, plant employees achieved a high level of sustained safety performance that warranted applying for Star recognition.
An OSHA VPP officer led the audit team, which conducted a series of employee interviews about the plant’s operations, training and safety programs. They also reviewed documentation and reports regarding safety programs at the facility, and conducted a comprehensive inspection, applying OSHA safety standards.
Diefenbacher and the Weirton plant team implemented specific improvements at the facility during the past few years to ensure the safest working environment possible. In its presentation to the OSHA auditors, the USG team highlighted the methods used to maintain a focus on safety, reviewed training programs and described the plant’s safety team activities.
As a result of the focus on safety, the plant recently celebrated more than 450,000 safe work hours without a lost-time injury. Additionally, the plant recently completed more than 2,362 days, or 6.5 years, without a lost-time injury.
The Weirton plant is also an environmental steward in the community, as it is a zero-discharge facility, meaning zero waste is discharged from the plant site. The plant also recycles all steel scrap material and steel coils with a local recycling company. Additionally, the Weirton plant has won numerous West Virginia Governor's Commendation for International Market Entry Awards and the West Virginia Region 5 Employer of the Year Award.
USG Corporation is a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance building systems through its United States Gypsum Company, USG Interiors Inc. and L&W Supply Corporation and other subsidiaries. Headquartered in Chicago, USG's worldwide operations serve the residential and non-residential construction markets, repair and remodel construction markets, and industrial processes. USG's wall, ceiling, flooring and roofing products provide leading-edge building solutions for customers, while L&W Supply center locations efficiently stock and deliver building materials nationwide.