Tues., Oct. 28, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Waterville and Bangor sites join Freeport manufacturing plant
BOSTON - The L.L.Bean customer contact centers in Waterville and Bangor, Maine, have joined the retailer's Freeport, Maine, manufacturing plant in the prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They were welcomed into the VPP by OSHA officials in ceremonies held today at both worksites.
"We congratulate L.L.Bean and its employees for their ongoing and successful joint commitment to making safety and health a top priority in their workplaces," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator for New England. "Their safety and health culture is exceptional and can serve as a model for other employers."
The Waterville and Bangor locations were accepted into the VPP at the star level, the program's highest, following several days of onsite visits during which OSHA teams reviewed their safety and health management systems, interviewed employees and conducted complete walkthroughs of each worksite. At both sites, OSHA found safety and health programs consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants, and injury and illness rates below the industry average.
Among the areas of excellence identified were a strong and effective ergonomic program that provides basic and advanced ergonomic services to employees, including a stretch break program; numerous wellness programs to improve employees' health and well-being; and a safety and health culture in which employees regularly develop unique and innovative methods to address safety and health concerns.
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 companies in their respective industries.
To date, more than 2,030 worksites in 270-plus industries, including 17 worksites in Maine, have earned entry into the VPP. For more information about the VPP, call OSHA's regional office in Boston at 617-565-9890 or visit online at www.osha.gov/dcsp/vpp/index.html.
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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