Thurs., Jan. 31, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
'star' in elite workplace safety and health program
WAREHAM, Mass. ¿ The U.S. Postal Service's Cape Cod mail processing and distribution facility in Wareham has achieved "star" status in the prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
"Employees and management at the Cape Cod processing center are to be congratulated for stepping up to "star" level, the highest in the VPP," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator for New England.
The Wareham facility, which employs 149 workers who process mail for Cape Cod and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, entered the VPP as a "merit" site in June 2005. Its elevation to a "star" site came after an OSHA team's on-site review, including interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite, found the facility's safety and health programs consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants.
"Working together, employees and management took a good safety and health program and made it better," said Kent. "Their focus on identifying and addressing work-related hazards has resulted in injury and illness rates that are well below the industry average."
The VPP recognizes worksites that are committed to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards and encourages cooperative relationships among labor, management, unions and government. The Wareham facility is one of more than 1,920 worksites in 270 industries nationwide that have earned entry into the VPP, including seven other U.S. Postal Service sites in Massachusetts. The others are located in Acton, Cambridge, Lakeville, Rowley, Springfield, Tewksbury and Westboro.
Through the VPP, employers and employees have experienced significant decreases in fatalities, injuries and illnesses; associated cost reductions including lowered workers' compensation expenses; positive changes in company culture and attitudes toward safety and health; and average injury rates 50 percent lower than other employers in their respective industries. More information is available from the VPP manager in OSHA's Boston Regional Office at 617-565-9890.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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