MSA announced October 27 that its Murrysville, Pa., manufacturing plant has been designated a national "VPP (Voluntary Protection Program) Star Site" by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Fewer than 1,100 workplaces across the U.S. have earned this distinction since the VPP Program was created in 1982. Broad in scope, the voluntary program encourages and recognizes excellence in workplace health and safety. To celebrate this achievement, a commemorative plaque and flag were presented to the MSA Murrysville employees by Marie Cassady, deputy regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

"The culture of MSA and the attitude of our employees are built upon having a passion for safety," said Bill Lambert, president of MSA North America. "Achieving VPP Star status requires tremendous effort and dedication on many fronts, and our associates accepted this challenge. We position the MSA brand around the world as The Safety Company and in achieving VPP certification, our associates clearly have demonstrated that we live that brand each and every day."

 

Star Site certification distinguishes facilities that have safety programs actively driven by employees, have injury and illness rates at or below national averages and are self-sufficient in their ability to control workplace hazards.

 

In particular, the Murrysville plant was recognized for several noteworthy achievements, including:

   - a 62 percent reduction in OSHA reportable (injury/illness Total Case Incident) rates since 2001, which is 65 percent below industry averages;

   - a 66 percent reduction in cases with days away from work, restricted activity or job transfer since 2001, which is 77 percent below industry averages;

   - an 89 percent improvement in employee safety perception survey scores since 2000, and;

   - participation on designated safety teams by more than 50 percent of all employees.

 

For 30 years, MSA Murrysville has played a critical role in the company's North American success. The facility serves as MSA's primary North American manufacturing site for head and respiratory protection products, including the company's flagship V-Gard Protective Helmet and self-contained breathing apparatus, as well as ballistic helmets for the law enforcement.

 

MSA's Murrysville operation is staffed by more than 250 of the most experienced and skilled work forces in the safety products industry. The average length of service for MSA's skilled operators at Murrysville exceeds 24 years and equates to more than 6,300 years of experience. The majority of the work performed at Murrysville involves many proprietary processing technologies that are central to the production of MSA's sophisticated safety equipment. These processes include machining, plastic injection molding, metal processing, sonic welding and product assembly.

 

Opting to make VPP certification a priority three years ago as a continuous improvement initiative, MSA Murrysville became committed to effective employee protection beyond OSHA requirements. Since that time, two other MSA facilities have begun the quest to meet the VPP Star Status.

 

"Our employees not only work to protect our customers, they work hard to ensure a safe working environment. It is their efforts that have made our VPP status possible," said Lambert. "The fact is, fewer injuries and illnesses in the workplace equates to greater efficiency, quality and profitability for our company and the products we produce. MSA becomes more competitive as workers' compensation premiums and other costs associated with injuries and illnesses plummet. Simply put, as safety improves, everyone wins – our employees, our customers, and our shareholders. All of us at MSA are very proud of our Murrysville team and this recognition by OSHA as a VPP Star Status site."

 

Chrysoula Komis, Ph.D., OSHA Region III team leader and site auditor of MSA's Murrysville plant, noted that the safety and health program at MSA is centered on the concept of maintaining the best, most protective practices to safeguard employees from a variety of hazardous operations and conditions.

 

"The numerous interviews conducted by the VPP audit team demonstrated the site's safety and health program and voluntary protection efforts make a very positive impact on the overall safety and health conditions at the jobsite," she said. "By and large, MSA has a comprehensive safety and health program that has been consistently improved over the years with the emphasis on management and employee involvement. They serve as a model for other companies and should be commended for their efforts."