OSHA's VPP Process Helps Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Significantly Reduce Injuries and Illnesses
The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) is the largest Naval shore facility in the Pacific Northwest. The Shipyard's capabilities include alteration, overhaul and repair, construction, and drydocking of all types of naval vessels. In January 2006, it became the third naval shipyard to achieve OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Star recognition, joining Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire and Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia.
VPP Process Reduces Injuries and Illnesses at the Shipyard
When PSNS began the VPP process in 1995, their Total Case Incidence Rate (TCIR) was 22.8. Through the implementation and maturation of VPP tenets, the site has demonstrated drastic reductions in those rates. In 2007, their TCIR was reduced to 5.6 – a reduction of 75 percent since initiating the VPP process. Their 2007 rate is also 47 percent below the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) national average for the ship building and repair industry. The table below presents PSNS' TCIR over the past decade and the steady reduction once becoming involved with OSHA's VPP.
|2006 BLS Average||10.7|
Increased Employee Involvement and Knowledge of Safety and Heath Drives Success
PSNS determined that employee involvement was a key component for driving success. They worked hard to increase safety awareness among all employees and empowered the work force to accept responsibility for their own personal safety and the safety of their co-workers. Examples of how they accomplished this include:
- VPP Passport - an educational tool to increase employees' knowledge of VPP and the PSNS safety program. VPP Passport also increased individual employee's involvement in his or her own safety.
- Shop, Code, and Project Safety Committees - Each PSNS Shop, Code, and Project currently has a Safety Committee made up of employees who work together to solve safety issues in their work areas.
- Quarterly Worksite Inspections - Shop, Code, and Project Safety Committees have teamed up with the PSNS safety office to conduct safety inspections of the entire facility on a quarterly basis. Previously, the Safety office conducted annual inspections, but with the assistance of employees, they have been able to increase the frequency of the inspections and receive assistance in getting deficiencies corrected in a timely manner.
- Employee Recognition - PSNS has two employee recognition programs through which employees can be recognized by other employees for safe work practices.
- The Safety ACT Program allows employees to nominate other employees for recognition who perform a specific contribution related to safety.
- The VPP Recognition Team recognizes employees they find working in a safe manner with free lunch tickets.