VonRoll USA, Inc., was founded in 1995 as VonRoll Isola USA, Inc., in Schenectady, New York, and has grown to include worksites in New Haven, Connecticut; Douglasville, Georgia; Cleveland, Ohio; and Monmouth Junction, New Jersey. VonRoll produces insulating materials for high, medium, and low voltage rotating machines and apparatus. The company also manufactures resin and varnishes, mica, surge rope, shrink film, and silicone-coated fabrics and other petroleum-based materials for private label markets; provides UL-certified and high voltage testing services; and offers tank maintenance programs as well as field application and engineering services.
VonRoll's products and services require expertise in several high hazard industries, so VonRoll Safety Manager/ Environmental Compliance North America, Phillip Browning, thought participating in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Safety and Health Recognition Program (SHARP), was an excellent opportunity for the company to challenge itself in workplace safety and health. Acceptance into SHARP is an achievement that singles out a worksite among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.
With achieving SHARP status as a goal, VonRoll - Schenectady contacted the New York Department of Labor, Division of Safety and Health (DOSH), On-Site Consultation Program, to receive guidance on establishing a comprehensive injury and illness prevention program. OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country and in several territories with priority given to high hazard work sites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.
A DOSH consultant conducted a walkthrough of VonRoll - Schenectady and identified areas of concern in their manufacturing facilities in April 2009. Machine guarding of equipment and identification of workplace hazards were key issues that needed to be addressed. While working with the consultant to identify the adequacies and deficiencies of VonRoll's safety and health policies, the company recognized a need for improved management and worker communications.
The DOSH consultant clarified OSHA regulatory requirements, provided hazard correction assistance, and aided the company in the development of written safety and health policies. In turn, VonRoll corrected the deficiencies in engineering controls, machine guarding, policies, and procedures identified during the consultation visits. To improve communications and keep everyone informed of safety and health activities and conditions, daily safety meetings between workers and supervisors were established. With the goal of achieving a Safety-First culture at the facility, the company trained the workers to identify hazards and encouraged them to promptly report safety issues.
"Earning SHARP status and sustaining adherence to the program's guidelines has been a worthy challenge. To be successful, our programs must embody the proper attitude toward injury and illness prevention on the part of management, supervisors, and workers," said General Manager North America Jon Roberts. "It also requires cooperation in all safety and health matters, not only between management, supervisors, and workers but also between each person and their fellow workers."
Working with DOSH proved fruitful for VonRoll - Schenectady on several fronts. Such results have inspired other VonRoll facilities to request On-site Consultation Program support. Today, three of the VonRoll facilities have earned SHARP recognition. These successes demonstrate VonRoll's commitment to ensuring the workers a safe and healthful workplace.
The Connecticut and New Jersey facilities are in the planning stages of requesting an On-site Consultation Program visit. Phil Browning spearheads SHARP efforts at all VonRoll's facilities. "Having met and/or worked closely with Onsite Consultation Program representatives in five states," said Browning, "I would recommend that any small business owner take advantage of this valuable, free, and confidential service."
"We initially intended to achieve a Safety-First culture at the Schenectady facility and enable employees to identify hazards and promptly report them. Today meeting the SHARP challenges have become a shared source of pride. Our SHARP designations and recertification makes everyone proud of the role they play in earning this recognition," said Roberts, "and we work every day to maintain it."
Jon Roberts, General Manager North America, VonRoll USA, Inc. Phillip Browning, Safety Manager / Environmental Compliance North America, VonRoll USA, Inc.Back to Top
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