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Star shines at Rohm and Haas facility

Rohm & Haas Co : 04 September, 2006  (Company News)
Officials from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently notified the Rohm and Haas Bristol facility of their recertification as a prestigious Star site in the Voluntary Protection Program based on a review of the plant
Star status comes with many benefits to the facility, the company, and the union. 'Being a Star plant means we have demonstrated our commitment to a higher level of safety for our employees and their families,' says Patricia DePaola, Croydon Health and Safety Manager and VPP Team member. 'The Star designation reflects everyone’s involvement in our core belief that health and safety is valued above all else. For the union, the VPP Star is a tribute to their culture of cooperation to improve safety for its members. It is also a symbol of their commitment to employee involvement in the future.' Approximately 250 employees work at the Bristol site.

VPP participants are a select group of facilities that have designed and implemented outstanding health and safety programs, which go beyond Federal OSHA requirements. Star participants meet all VPP requirements. Merit participants have demonstrated the potential and willingness to achieve Star program status, and are implementing planned steps to fully meet all Star requirements.

A special event to recognize and celebrate the recertification will be held during the site’s Family Safety Day in early October. “This achievement is something everyone can cheer about. Our families will join us to reinforce the value of safety day in and day out. It’s really part of everything we do.” The Safety Day will include fire extinguisher training, safe driving simulators, and other educational lessons to detect and avoid hazards.

The Voluntary Protection Program, which is administered by OSHA, is designed to recognize and promote effective safety and health management. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish a cooperative relationship at a workplace that has implemented a strong program. In this program:
• Management agrees to operate an effective program that meets an established set of criteria.
• Employees agree to participate in the program and work with management to assure a safe and healthful workplace.
• OSHA initially verifies that the program meets the VPP criteria. OSHA then publicly recognizes the site's exemplary program, and removes the site from routine scheduled inspection lists. (OSHA may still investigate major accidents, valid formal employee complaints, and chemical spills.)
• OSHA also reassesses periodically to confirm that the site continues to meet VPP criteria (every three years for the Star program; every year for the Merit program).

The VPP concept recognizes that compliance enforcement alone can never fully achieve the objectives of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A comprehensive safety and health program and a cooperative relationship between management, labor, and OSHA can protect workers more effectively than simple compliance.

For a plant to maintain Star status, it has to continue working hard at the opportunities still at hand. 'Achieving Star status takes several years,' says Tim Montgomery, Site Manager, Bristol plant. 'It’s because of the commitment to pass a tough evaluation process and keep those standards high that employee involvement and awareness remains our priority. We continually need to meet the criteria established for specific elements of an effective safety program, demonstrate an injury rate that is among the best in the industry, and pass an inspection of the facility by an OSHA VPP Team.' Some of the criteria the plant has to meet include self-inspections, safety and health training, preventative maintenance, emergency programs and drills, and contractor safety.

The site, which has a facility in Bristol and Croydon, PA, is included in the ranks of about 55 similar chemical manufacturing facilities to achieve Star status. Other Rohm and Haas Star locations include Philadelphia and Reading (PA), Long Beach, CA, Warsaw, IN, Louisville, KY, Lansing, IL, Charlotte Technical Center, NC, Houston, TX, and Elma, WA. The Grantsville, UT location is a Merit site.

Receiving recertification of Star status at the plant brings pride to everyone working at the site. 'Strong safety beliefs and safe work practices are everyone’s responsibility. This recognition is a credit to every employee working at Rohm and Haas Bristol,” says DePaola.
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