Speeches - (Archived) Table of Contents|
| Information Date:||10/03/2008|
| Presented To:||Fluor Corporation VPP Corporate Pilot Acceptance Celebration|
| Speaker:||Donald G. Shalhoub|
Donald G. Shalhoub
Deputy Assistant Secretary
For Occupational Safety and Health
VPP Corporate Pilot Acceptance Celebration
Greenville, South Carolina
11 a.m. Friday, October 3, 2008
I bring greetings from the Assistant Director of Labor, Ed Foulke. Although a last-minute change in his schedule means he could not be with you today, he asked me to be sure that I conveyed to you his enthusiastic congratulations.
Ed and I and everyone in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were very pleased when Fluor Corporation was approved to join OSHA's team of national corporate leaders as a participant in our Voluntary Protection Programs Corporate Pilot.
Thanks to Alan Boeckmann [Fluor Chairman and CEO] and the rest of Fluor's management team for your invitation to help you celebrate today. I also want to thank Fluor's corporate management team for its leadership in making workplace safety and health a priority. Finally, I want to recognize the Fluor employees who have brought their spirit, cooperation, and dedication to the VPP application effort.
OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs comprise OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. Beyond being a role model for workplace safety and health, VPP companies generally experience many benefits, such as: 50 percent fewer lost workday injuries, injury and illness rates that are 53 percent below their industry's average, and reduced workers' compensation costs.
Of course, we never forget that these numbers represent real people - the heart and soul of America's workforce and our nation's most precious resource.
I am grateful for the support that Fluor has demonstrated for OSHA's mission of protecting employees. As I imagine the possibility of more Fluor worksites joining VPP, I think of all the employees who will be spared tragic illnesses, injuries - and worse. We have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on lives here and around the world, and I am glad that Fluor has chosen to take this bold leadership role.
Leadership means trying new ideas, presenting an example for others to follow, and setting challenging goals. Fluor has done all of this with its commitment to VPP and to workplace safety and health.
The report approving Fluor for the VPP Corporate Pilot Program specifically noted how the corporation exhibits a culture that emphasizes the importance of safety and health. Beginning with the CEO, this culture is communicated, demonstrated and practiced at all levels of the organization.
For example: All meetings at Fluor begin with a safety and health topic and a value-creation topic. The importance that Fluor places on safety and health extends through a network of moderated Internet forums to quickly and efficiently put answers to safety and health questions into the hands of the employees who need them - regardless of where they are located in the world.
As a result of Fluor's continued commitment to improving the lives of its employees, and the corporation's growing relationship with OSHA and VPP, I am pleased this morning to officially, formally, enthusiastically and gratefully... welcome you to your next level of excellence... as a member of our VPP Corporate Pilot Program.
The VPP Corporate Pilot Program is for leaders. In joining this program, Fluor joins a select list of visionary companies committed to the highest levels of workplace safety and health, including: Dow Chemical, General Electric, Georgia-Pacific, Washington Division/URS Group, and the U.S. Postal Service.
The VPP Corporate Pilot Program is built on the proven success of OSHA's VPP initiative, which emphasizes the effectiveness of complete safety and health management systems. Established in 2004, the Corporate Pilot is designed for companies who have demonstrated a significant commitment to VPP and workplace safety and health.
VPP Corporate Pilot presents these special employers with an opportunity to streamline the VPP facility application process and onsite evaluation procedures. This program has the power to help improve the safety and health performance of thousands of worksites across America. As more corporations make commitments to workplace safety and health, this Corporate Pilot will play a major role in expanding VPP and helping more companies protect their employees and stay competitive.
This is why I want to thank you for all you have done so far, as well as for your commitment to bring in more sites under this Corporate Pilot.
The more participating sites we have,
- the better we can evaluate the effectiveness of the program,
- the sharper we can fine-tune the program to meet the real-world challenges and needs of participants,
- the clearer we can make the case for others to apply for VPP,
- the happier participants will be with the results of VPP, and
- the more effective the program will be in achieving our goal: protecting employees.
Now, while achieving VPP Corporate status is enormously significant and exciting, I am here today to tell you that this recognition is the beginning of something even bigger. Being part of VPP Corporate means sharing your experiences and best practices with others. You possess the potential to save tens of thousands of lives beyond your own corporation.
Through our Special Government Employee program, active VPP participants can have employees qualify to assist OSHA as it reviews current and prospective VPP sites. In fact, nine Fluor employees are now active SGEs; OSHA is grateful for these, and we hope that Fluor will contribute many more. As the SGE program expands, corporate America helps OSHA extend its reach to more companies, more worksites, more employees. This means that, at the end of the workday, more employees get to return home to their families and friends, safe and healthy.
There is another way that Fluor can show leadership and influence others. Now that you are a model of workplace safety and health, I urge you to help others as they have helped you - by becoming mentors. I hope that you will take every opportunity to reach out to those within your industry - even though those outside your industry - to carry our message.
At your trade conferences, in meetings with your stakeholders and customers, and at business community gatherings like your chambers of commerce and Rotary, look for opportunities to speak up about the power of prevention and the benefits of protecting employees.
Explain how Safety and Health Management Systems bring order and process to workplaces. Express how leadership begins at the top and, with management commitment and employee involvement, a company can transform itself into a culture of workplace safety and health with big benefits both to employees and a company's bottom line. Talk about your productive relationship with OSHA and all wealth of free resources and services that are available for the asking. You can lead by example, by mentoring. You can save lives and make a difference in the world.
I commend you for your leadership and your vision; I applaud your willingness to work as a team with OSHA; and - for all that you have done in cooperation with OSHA and VPP Corporate to prevent injuries and illnesses on the job - I thank you.
|Speeches - (Archived) Table of Contents|