||Region IV, Georgia;
Elm City facility, LaGrange, Georgia
|VPP Site Approval Date:
||1995 – Star
approval; 1998 - Star recertification.
Finishing Mills (NAICS Code 31311, SIC Code 2262)
Success with VPP: Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
The VPP model requires that sites go beyond compliance with OSHA standards by
implementing a safety and health management system (SHMS). A SHMS is a system of
linked program elements designed to reduce on-the-job hazards. Management
leadership and employee involvement are elements of a SHMS and are important in
ensuring that everyone at a worksite shares responsibility for a safe and
healthy working environment. The success of Milliken & Company’s Elm City
facility in achieving this type of environment is driven by the 100 percent
participation and commitment of the facility’s employees and management, known
According to Plant Manager Jimmy Tuley, "At the Elm City plant, we are 100%
committed to the Voluntary Protection Programs. By following the VPP guidelines,
we find it easy to reach our safety and health objectives. It is a tremendous
asset to have OSHA models to follow to promote a good safety program."
From associates’ initial 12-week safety orientation period through their active
participation in VPP subcommittees, safety audit process, and Nets Card hazard
reporting system, every associate at the Elm City facility is actively involved
The safety organization in each of the company’s facilities, including the Elm
City location, has an overall safety steering committee chaired by production
and/or administrative associates with management acting as
reference/resource/guideline coaches or sponsors. All steering committees have
five to nine subcommittees reporting to them by production and/or administrative
associates. Subcommittees are determined by the hazards and risks identified
within the facility.
Some examples of Milliken’s VPP Subcommittees include:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): This subcommittee ensures that each
associate has the correct PPE to perform their job. It also reviews the need for
new PPE throughout the plant and conducts PPE audits to ensure that all
associates are utilizing their PPE properly.
Safety Awareness: Members of this subcommittee promote safety on and off the
job. Their goal is to promote activities that keep safety continuously on the
minds of associates. This is achieved through safety meetings, health fairs,
seat belt audits, slogan contests, etc.
Milliken Quality Safety Process (MQSP): The MQSP subcommittee works as a liaison
with other committees to ensure that audits are developed and completed that
focus on the behavior-based safety process, a process that examines the actions
and thought processes of workers.
Fire & Emergency: This subcommittee is composed of all first responders who
conduct routine drills to ensure that the plant is prepared for emergencies.
Process Hazards: Associates on this committee identify and correct potential
hazards throughout the facility. They focus on new equipment and ensure that
lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures are properly implemented.
Ergonomics and Materials Handling: This subcommittee provides training and
conducts audits to ensure that all associates perform their jobs in an
Safety and Health Audits: Every associate performs two audits every four weeks.
Audits have been developed for each subcommittee. Audits identify potential
safety hazards and ensure that the appropriate subcommittee eliminates the
Employee Hazard Reporting System: If associates identify potential hazards, they
complete a "NETS Card," which identifies the location and type of hazard
observed. This process started as a result of a measurement of control process
that reviewed compliance with rules, procedures and regulations in the plant.
Six categories were identified, including: LOTO; Ergonomics; Dock Safety;
Contractor Safety; PPE; and Rules and Procedures.
Completed NETS Cards can be given to a department manager or deposited,
anonymously, into one of the drop boxes located throughout the facility. Each
potential hazard is tracked on the Safety Action Request System until it has
Accident/Incident Investigations: Associates also serve on the "Five Why" Teams
assigned to immediately investigate each incident. Each team seeks answers to
the following questions about each incident: when, where, why, what, and how.
These investigation teams will not end their meeting until they recommend a
solution to the cause of the incident.
Source and Date: Wayne Punch, Director of Safety and Health, Milliken & Company;
and Marci McCarley, Human Resources Manager, Milliken & Company—Elm City
facility (December 2004)