Milliken & Company VPP Star Site Alma Facility Receiving VPP Recognition

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Milliken & Company VPP Star Site Alma Facility Receiving VPP Recognition

Origin: Region IV, Georgia; Alma facility, Nicholls, Georgia

VPP Site Approval Date: 1994 - Star approval; 1997, 2001, 2004 - Star recertification

Industry: Carpet and rug yarn spinning (NAICS Code 31311, SIC Code 2281)

Employees: 250

Success with VPP: Worksite Analysis

Management and employees, referred to as associates at Milliken & Company's Alma plant, realize that a Safety and Health Management System (SHMS) is only good if it remains flexible and responsive to meet current and future safety and health needs. Milliken & Company's associates maintain a commitment to safety and health excellence (zero incidents) and to an uncompromising safety and health environment (no chances or shortcuts), in part through worksite analysis, an important element of a SHMS.

Worksite analysis includes the identification of existing worksite hazards, as well as conditions and operations that may cause hazards. To identify worksite hazards, worksites should routinely perform job hazard analyses and safety and health inspections of the worksite. Such efforts will help sites to move toward zero fatalities, injuries and illnesses in the workplace. This philosophy is working at the Alma facility, which had a three-year (2001-03) total recordable case incidence rate (TCIR) of 1.7, which is 70% below the BLS national average, and a days away, restricted or transferred rate (DART) of 0.2, which is 93% below the BLS national average for SIC Code 2281.

Low injury and illness rates are maintained by improving worksite analysis efforts such as modifying or upgrading equipment to reduce hazards. According to Plant Manager Wayne Bridges, "An established VPP program such as ours must continue to improve upon the safety and health condition at the facility. Here at the Alma plant, we keep our focus on improving safety and health by attending to even the smallest detail."

New Work Platforms and Railing Protect Maintenance Workers from Falls

During 2003, new spinning frames were modified to allow access for maintenance technicians to perform routine and preventive maintenance to the overhead doffer mechanism. Since the original equipment design by the manufacturer provided no method of accessing process points for cleaning and preventive maintenance on opening equipment at elevations reaching over ten feet, multiple platforms and ladders were installed in the opening process for the long and short staple nylon lines.

Once these problems were identified, Alma associates on the Process Hazards Safety Subcommittee completed the hazard and risk assessments and ultimately approved the upgraded equipment for production. This process involved identification of pinch points, hot/cold points, sharp edges, noise, dust and chemical hazards, and ergonomic material handling opportunities, etc.

The technicians now use a catwalk with guardrails to perform maintenance duties on equipment that is higher than eight feet off the floor. These platforms and ladders minimize the risk of falls from a life-threatening height. All locations have new equipment pre-startup checklists to include hazard and risk assessments of the equipment.

Spinning frame without catwalk

Spinning frame without catwalk

Spinning frame with catwalk and guardrails

Spinning frame with catwalk and guardrails

Combination caged ladders and platforms added to original equipment by the Process Hazards Safety Subcommittee.

Combination caged ladders and platforms
added to original equipment by the
Process Hazards Safety Subcommittee.

Source and Date: Wayne Punch, Director of Safety and Health, Milliken & Company; and Chris Jones, Human Resources Manager, Milliken & Company-Alma facility (December 2004)

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