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To build on the relationship developed through the OSHA Partnership and VPP programs with Koch Industries, INVISTA desired to establish a similar agreement. This agreement documents and facilitates the relationship by communicating the commitment to develop strong safety and health management systems and to strive toward workplace safety and health excellence. INVISTA's partnership sites allow OSHA to reach out to a diverse industry spectrum and to impact safety and health in a meaningful way. The lessons learned from the partnership site participation will be used to further impact health and safety globally. The seven (7) sites included in this partnership employ 2300 employees and contractors with an additional approximate number of 1175 independent contractors.
Partnership goals will be achieved through strategies and objectives that include:
During the evaluation period some progress was made by the OSP in the development of SHMS for the participating facilities. However, INVISTA’s available resources for this effort were limited due to a number of factors including two of the OSP participating facilities were not active for part of the year due to downturn in economy; many resources being diverted to support Hurricane Ike recovery efforts, and changes in key staff positions at the company. As of December 31, 2009, OSP participating facilities achieved an overall average TCIR and DART 40% and 80% below their industry averages respectively as determined by the 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) injury and illness rates.
Cultural Survey and SHMS Self-Assessments
To prepare the groundwork for developing effective SHMS at its participating facilities, INVISTA in 2007 conducted a workplace culture survey with 100 questions developed by Texas A&M University. Over fifty percent (50%) of INVISTA employees responded to the survey. The results assisted in identifying gaps with the company’s SHMS. The identified gaps included the need to improve communications between the facilities’ leadership and workers and the need to improve perceptions in the area of safety values and training. INVISTA plans to conduct a follow up survey in either 2011 or 2012, prior to the conclusion of the OSP.
In 2009, INVISTA continued to build on its facilities’ contractor safety programs. In addition to using a criteria to review contractor qualifications prior to their work onsite, INVISTA requires all contractor workers go through an 8-hour training program and to receive facility specific training via an internal program, the Safe Work Permit program, which is administered by the Site Supervisor. Additionally, these workers undergo training on an annual basis while they are at the facility. Among other topics, this training includes reviews of the information presented on Material Safety Data Sheets provided for chemicals the contractors have brought on site.. Lastly, contractors are required to conduct a job hazard analysis before each job starts with weekly audits and issuance of applicable safe work permits for every job.
During the evaluation period, INVISTA placed a special emphasis on the assessment and control of ergonomic risk factors at INVISTA’s downstream facilities including OSP participating facilities in Athens, GA and Seaford, DE. These facilities manufacture spinning fibers and filaments which requires repetitive work at these facilities. INVISTA implemented an ergonomics program at these facilities in which ergonomic safety is incorporated into the facility’s overall SHMS. To track ergonomic risks and their abatement, INVISTA uses a Discomfort Complaint Evaluation Protocol which is administered once a complaint is received. A hazard evaluation is then performed where ergonomic risk factors and relevant medical information are recorded along with trends and improvements. Also, a Physical Ability Test is administered during the new hire process to assist in proper job placement. Finally, an annual self assessment incorporating ergonomic surveys is performed. For facilities with minimal ergonomic risk factors, such as upstream facilities, workers are provided with awareness training about ergonomic safety programs during annual safety meetings and the facilities distribute monthly reminders with information on ergonomics.
VPP and SGE Program Participation
At the end of the evaluation period, the following OSP participating facilities have achieved various stages of VPP activities:
*Due to severe weather conditions and damages to INVISTA facilities following Hurricane Ike, OSHA and INVISTA agreed to postpone the initial start date until normal INVISTA operations resumed. Accordingly, an addendum with an effective date of January 18, 2009 was signed by all of the original INVISTA signatories and the former Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor, Thomas M. Stohler.