Matthies presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Printpack CEO Gay McLawhorn Love, on behalf of the Hazelwood Fire Department.
Printpack, Inc., is the first organization in the City of Hazelwood to achieve OSHA’s Star VPP status. It’s also the third plant among the company’s 25 world-wide manufacturing facilities to be designated as an OSHA Star VPP worksite.
OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is designed to promote excellence in safety and health by recognizing facilities with outstanding occupational safety and health management systems. Based on a cooperative relationship between management, labor and government, the VPP promotes worker protection, requiring active employee involvement and management commitment. OSHA also conducts a thorough on-site evaluation to judge how well the site’s protective system is working, including a review of site injury/illness rates. Selection as a VPP participant is a distinguished honor. Continuous improvement is expected.
The VPP Star Program is designed for exemplary worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health management systems. Companies in the Star Program have achieved injury and illness rates at or below the national average of their respective industries. These sites are self-sufficient in their ability to control workplace hazards. Star participants are re-evaluated every 3 to 5 years, although incident rates are reviewed annually.
“This is a great accomplishment for Printpack, Inc. The worksite here in Hazelwood is in a very elite group of manufacturing facilities. There are only a handful of companies that qualify to be in OSHA’s VPP, so they should be very proud of themselves. It’s a lot of effort on a lot of people’s part to make it happen,” said Mike Minicky, CSP, safety engineer, Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s St. Louis Area Office.
Printpack officials believe this STAR level achievement could not have been accomplished without the vision of the company’s safety director Ford Best, who passed away recently, and the dedication and hard work of all the safety committee members. “Safety is a core value of our company,” said Dennis Love, president of Printpack, Inc. “By creating a safe and healthy environment for our employees, we not only reduce staff shortages due to worker injuries and illnesses, but we improve worker productivity by enabling them to concentrate more on their tasks.”
The Hazelwood Fire Department has played a key role as a community partner with Printpack by training members of the plant emergency organization (PEO) on what to do in emergency situations. “As part of our community outreach efforts to help local companies train their employees, we’ve held several instructional sessions for the PEO on fire extinguisher usage, emergency evacuations, handling of flammable liquids, First Aid and maintenance of the building’s sprinkler system,” said Bob Parrish, firefighter/inspector of the Hazelwood Fire Department.
According to Fire Chief Jim Matthies, “On behalf of the Hazelwood Fire Department, we congratulate Printpack on achieving the goals set forth by OSHA. It takes many groups of people to achieve this level of success. We appreciate being a part of this effort to help improve the company’s safety and health management systems.”
Matthies went on to say that in the fire service, there is a saying that everyone goes home. “We try to start each shift with that thought in mind. Due in no small part to Printpack’s efforts in keeping the plant safe, they can live that saying because everyone has gone home safely to their families and loved ones. This is truly a community partnership. We look forward to helping Printpack continue making safety a #1 priority,” added Matthies.