Region 1 News Release: 09-26-BOS/BOS 2009-074
Wed., March 25, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
South Portland, Maine, Carrier Annex enters Voluntary Protection Programs of U.S. Labor Department's OSHA as workplace safety and health star
PORTLAND, Maine - The South Portland, Maine, Carrier Annex is the latest U.S. Postal Service (USPS) worksite in New England to achieve star status in the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A VPP flag-raising ceremony featuring employees, management and OSHA representatives was held this morning at the facility.
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. Companies in the VPP achieve injury and illness rates below the Bureau of Labor Statistics average for other companies in their respective industries. The VPP star is the highest level of recognition that OSHA awards.
"Employees and management at the South Portland Carrier Annex understand and value the importance of taking a proactive approach to safety and health, working together to evaluate, identify and eliminate hazards before they hurt workers," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator for New England. "This mutual commitment through the VPP pays dividends in fewer injuries and illnesses, enhanced productivity and positive morale."
The South Portland facility has 96 employees who are represented by the American Postal Workers Union, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Rural Letter Carriers Association and National Postal Mail Handlers Union. The star designation came after an OSHA team's three-day onsite review found its safety and health programs consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants.
Among its areas of excellence is a partnership with the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Federal Employee Program through which health professionals provide monthly onsite training focusing on various hazards mail carriers may encounter in the field, such as warning signs of heart attacks, dog bite prevention and sun safety.
The South Portland Carrier Annex now joins more than 2,160 worksites in more than 270 industries nationwide that have earned entry into OSHA's VPP. Requirements include a high degree of management commitment and employee involvement; a high-quality worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control program; 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 VPP.
Sixteen other USPS facilities in New England, including the Biddeford/Saco Carrier Annex in Saco, Maine, also have earned entry into the VPP. More information is available from OSHA's Boston Regional Office at 617-565-9890 or online at www.osha.gov/dcsp/vpp.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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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