The Coca-Cola North America beverage syrup plant in Columbus, Ohio, on May 4 became the first syrup production facility in the country to achieve the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) highest level of recognition for workplace safety and health — the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star. The plant also received recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 4 for outstanding environmental performance as a member of EPA’s Performance Track leadership program.

 

Two flags – one featuring an OSHA VPP Star logo and another with the EPA Performance Track logo – were raised at the Columbus facility to commemorate these distinctions.  

 

“OSHA VPP is a cooperative compliance program that recognizes the top workplace health and safety performers in the country, and I congratulate the entire Columbus team for this outstanding accomplishment,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. “The Columbus Coca-Cola production plant has put in place a progressive safety management program that I hope will be adopted by other industries.”

 

The OSHA VPP program recognizes excellence in employee safety and health program execution beyond the requirements of OSHA standards. VPP participants develop and implement processes to effectively identify, evaluate, prevent and control occupational hazards and avoid employee injuries and illnesses. There are only 1,700 VPP sites nationwide among all industries.  According to OSHA, VPP companies achieve average injury and illness rates 50 percent below other companies in their industry. 

 

“I’m proud of the fact that at the Columbus facility, injury rates have declined by 68 percent while employee engagement and wellness scores have climbed to 73 percent – the highest they have ever been,” said Bill Bruner, senior vice president for supply chain, Coca-Cola North America. “The OSHA VPP program has produced tremendous results that we hope to transfer across our entire Coca-Cola System.”

 

“Every associate here understands the important role he or she plays in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment,” said Willie Peete, general manager, Columbus Syrup Plant, Coca-Cola North America. “Our commitment to these responsibilities ensures that our products meet the highest standards of quality.”     

 

The Coca-Cola Columbus plant also received recognition from the EPA for its environmental performance as a member of the EPA Performance Track recognition program. The plant has made multi-year commitments in recycling, water use reduction, energy use efficiency and reduction of hazardous materials. Coca-Cola Columbus also has developed a successful community outreach effort in partnership with the Friends of Alum Creek Watershed Group and the City of Columbus Waste Water facility. 

 

“The Columbus Coca-Cola plant has achieved a tremendous environmental track record,” said Bruner. “The plant has reduced water use by 12 percent and solid waste by 11 percent while increasing recycling rates by 58 percent. These efforts underscore the commitment all of us at The Coca-Cola Company have made to ensure the long-term sustainability of our business.” 

 

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company markets four of the world's top five nonalcoholic sparkling beverage brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite, and a wide range of other beverages, including diet and light beverages, waters, juices and juice drinks, teas, coffees, energy and sports drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the company's beverages at a rate exceeding 1.4 billion servings each day.