General Electric's Consumer and Industrial Products manufacturing plant in Auburn, Maine, has been recertified for an additional five-year membership in the prestigious "Star" Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) of the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
"This award spotlights General Electric's continuing commitment to effective safety and health management at this site," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "Our review of the plant's safety and health management programs found they continue to be consistent with the high quality of VPP while its injury and illness rates are below the industry average."
The plant, which produces electrical parts for circuit breakers and switchgear, employs 176 workers. With its recertification, it continues as part of an elite corps of about 1,400 workplaces nationwide that have earned VPP recognition.
The "Star" recertification came after an OSHA team's thorough on-site review of the plant's safety and health programs, interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite. The plant was first certified as a "Star" site in July 1997 and its certification was first renewed in July 2001.
"A particular area of excellence at this site is the company's installation of a reclaim system for nitric acid that includes a pump system that eliminates the need for employees to physically work with or near the acid during the process," said Kent.
OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs offer employers an opportunity to move beyond traditional safety programs by recognizing participants that successfully incorporate comprehensive safety and health programs into their total management systems. VPP companies achieve average injury rates 50 percent lower than other companies in their industry. The VPP programs are open to deserving employers in any industry.
Requirements for application to VPP include a high degree of management support and employee involvement; a high-quality worksite hazard analysis; prevention and control programs; 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 program.