Region 1 News Release: 06-383-BOS/ BOS 2006-078
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
Tewksbury, Mass., Post Office Earns Prestigious OSHA "Star"
TEWKSBURY, Mass. -- The U.S. Postal Service's Tewksbury Post Office has earned membership in the prestigious "Star" Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) of the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The post office, which delivers all classes of mail to the Tewksbury area, employs 56 workers. OSHA's review of the facility's safety and health management programs found them consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants. In addition, its injury and illness rates remain well below the industry average.
It now joins an elite corps of about 1,400 workplaces nationwide that have earned VPP recognition. The "Star" designation came after an OSHA team's thorough on-site review of the post office's application and safety and health programs, interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite.
"In qualifying for 'Star' status, the Tewksbury post office verified that it had implemented programs and procedures beyond the requirements of OSHA standards, and that those programs feature extensive involvement by both management and workers," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator.
The facility's written safety and health management system identifies and tracks workplace hazards to ensure their correction and control, and its safety and health training programs ensure that employees and contractors understand occupational hazards and how to address them. A particular area of excellence is its use of local cable television and "snow letters" to remind customers to clear curbside boxes and shovel stairs and sidewalks to help reduce mail carriers' exposure to slips, trips and falls.
OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs offer employers an opportunity to move beyond traditional safety programs by recognizing participants that successfully incorporate comprehensive safety and health programs into their total management systems. VPP companies achieve average injury rates 50 percent lower than other companies in their industry. The VPP programs are open to deserving employers in any industry.
Requirements for application to VPP include a high degree of management support and employee involvement; a high-quality worksite hazard analysis; prevention and control programs, and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective, in place and in operation for at least one year before a company can apply to join the program. Additional information is available from the VPP manager at the OSHA regional office in Boston at (617) 565-9890.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships, and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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