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VPP Programs Participation in VPP Helps L’Oreal Reduce Injuries and Illnesses, Increase Employee Involvement, and Enhance a Safety and Health Culture


Background:

L’Oreal USA, Solon Manufacturing Facility in Solon, Ohio, produces packaged hair-care products, including shampoo, conditioner, and spritz. The facility’s manufacturing areas include product lines, assembly, shipping and receiving, and warehouse operations. With close to 400 employees, the site’s safety team is extremely active in all facets of the facility’s comprehensive safety and health management system (SHMS).

Success Impact:

L’Oreal Significantly Decreases Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) Rates and Total Case Incident Rates (TCIR) Resulting in Rates below the BLS National Average

In October 2005, the site was accepted in OSHA’s premier recognition program, the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) at the Merit level. One of the factors that led to the site’s Merit level status – rather than a Star level designation – was that the site’s injury and illness rates were above the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) national average. Since that time, they have worked diligently to reduce these rates dramatically, resulting in the site’s latest injuries and illness rates being well below the BLS national average. The site’s Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate in 2007 was 60% below BLS, and their Total Case Incident Rates (TCIR) was 89% below the BLS national average. The table below presents the site’s progress in lowering their injury and illness rates over a three-year period, as well as their three-year average.
 
  TCIR DART
Year 1: 2005  1.6 0.7
Year 2: 2006 1.8 1.3
Year 3: 2007 1.2 0.2
3-Year Average 1.5 0.7
BLS Industry National Average (2006) 3.0 1.9

The L’Oreal facility lowered their injury and illness rates by significantly enhancing their employee involvement program and providing additional training to staff on hazard awareness, identification, and abatement.

Safety and Health Culture Enhanced

The L’Oreal facility’s plant manager, Larry Lebel, played a key role in enhancing the site’s safety and health culture by developing and implementing the "Cultural Evolution Plan." The purpose of this plan was to create a safety culture which enabled employees to close the gap between their values, intentions, and actual behavior. The plan included detailed strategies of how to accomplish this, including:
  • Development and dissemination of an employee opinion survey
  • Involvement of employees in the review and development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Participation of employees in the Safety Hazard Assessment Program (SHAP)
  • Implementation of numerous Employee Involvement Teams (EIT) with supervisors
  • "Stand Up and Be Heard" submissions from employees to help document their concerns
  • Participation from employees in the new Health and Wellness Committee.
During the second VPP evaluation, besides commending the site on their efforts to increase employee involvement and reduce injuries and illnesses, the onsite OSHA team also commended the site for offering a comprehensive job certification program to employees. This apprentice-type program offers employees opportunities for advancement within the company which leads to less turnover and increased motivation in the workplace.

Increased Safety and Health Training – Hazard Identification

The site has also significantly improved its hazard identification capabilities by offering the OSHA 10- and 30- hour classes to staff. This helps employees to become more involved in recognizing hazards throughout the facility and correcting them – ultimately leading to less injuries.

Subsequently, all of these safety and health improvements have resulted in the site being recommended to move from a VPP Merit level status to a Star level status.

Origin: Region V, Cleveland Area Office

Entered VPP: October 2005 at VPP Merit level; additional OSHA onsite review conducted in March 2008 resulted in VPP Star level recommendation

Industry: Packaged hair-care products, including shampoo, conditioner, and spritz (NAICS Code 325610, SIC Code 2844)

Employees: 400+

Employers: 1 (4 contractor companies)

Source and Date: Julie Weis, Region V, Cleveland OSHA Office (July 2008)