Four Seasons Houston first hotel in US to be federally certified by OSHA as VPP Star
Four Seasons Hotel Houston is a part of the Toronto-based Four Seasons chain of luxury hotels and resorts. The hotel includes guest rooms, apartments, privately-owned condominiums, a health club and spa, as well as premiere restaurants. Opening in 1982 and Houston's first AAA Five-Diamond hotel, the Four Seasons Houston team is very proud to be the first federally certified VPP Star hotel in the United States, protecting nearly 400 workers.
Journey to VPP Star
In 2016, the Four Seasons Houston Planning Committee, led by its General Manager, Tom Segesta committed to achieving a milestone in the hospitality industry – to become the first hotel in the United States to be federally certified by OSHA as VPP Star site. The committee recognized the many benefits of achieving VPP Star and felt that ongoing participation in the program would drive safety excellence, promote continuous improvement by such as further reducing injuries, increasing employee involvement and engaging management, establish an engaged and committed workforce and prevent the safety program from plateauing or getting stale. The Houston team was excited about partnering and building a cooperative relationship with OSHA to achieve best-in-class performance.
Preparing for VPP Star helped the site close gaps and gain a better understanding of safety expectations in the hotel industry. Engagement and enthusiasm for achieving VPP was very high at all levels of the hotel. Regarding outreach and mentoring, the site received tremendous guidance from a local and veteran VPP Star site, Cedar Bayou Power Plant and their VPP Champion Emanuel Vogel.
The site utilized creative activities to promote VPP Star including "VPP Jeopardy" where employees were rewarded points and subsequent awards for knowing and understanding key VPP principles.
The site formed an Injury Prevention Committee that includes employees and managers from all departments. The Committee meets monthly, provides toolbox training to their departments, completes monthly safety inspections and are rewarded for performing proactive safety activities. The Injury Prevention Committee Incentive Program provides a point system to committee representatives for participation in various proactive safety initiatives such as reporting hazards and opportunities, inspecting other departments and updating safety boards. Quarterly awards are provided to members with the highest points.
Four Seasons Houston is committed to mentoring and supporting other interested sites in the hospitality industry and is currently assisting several Four Seasons properties in preparation for future VPP assessments. As the first federally certified hotel in the United States, Four Seasons Houston is committed to supporting other sites within our industry to achieve safety excellence through VPP Star.
Reduced Injury and Illness Rates
VPP Star has helped drive exemplary injury and illness rates at the site. The Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) in 2018 was 1.0 - 77% better than the industry average and the 3-year TCIR of 1.42 is 68% better than the National Average. On April 26, 2019 the site surpassed 288 days without a recordable injury. This milestone was celebrated by all employees and included leadership serving a congratulatory lunch (pictured below).
Improved Safety Program
An effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) has helped the site achieve a safety system that is based on proactive activities and processes and have helped reduce the number and severity of injuries and illnesses at the property. The I2P2 includes systematic programs that allow employees and management to collaborate on an ongoing basis to find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt or become ill.
The hard work that helped the site achieve VPP Star was leveraged to achieve another safety milestone – the Texas Division of Workers' Compensation 2019 Lone Star Safety Award. Four Seasons Houston is the 33rd company in Texas to achieve the honor and the first hotel. "Four Seasons Houston has shown overwhelming evidence that the safety and health of its employees is a priority through management and employee commitment, effective policies and procedures and safety performance; this qualifies the property as a Lone Star Safety Award recipient; your safety and health program sets a high standard for other to follow" (Kim Rowe Lusero, TDI, Division of Workers' Compensation).
Four Seasons Hotel Houston General Manager, Tom Segesta:
"Each of our 391 employees takes great pride in everything we do here at the Hotel, and safety is always a priority," says Tom Segesta, General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Houston. "Our team is dedicated to proactively creating and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment at all times, which not only benefits our employees, but our valued guests, as well."
Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner:
"Houston has a history of being first. The first inside professional sports stadium, the first to send a man to the moon, the first to get 5G wireless servicing, the first in ethnic diversity and I am so proud of this Four Seasons Hotel for continuing this tradition for the city of Houston, as the first hotel in the United States hospitality industry to achieve the VPP Star certification". "This is a big deal".
OSHA Area Director, South Houston, Mark Briggs:
"It's incredible that Four Seasons Houston is the first hotel in the hospitality industry under federal OSHA to achieve VPP Star; you guys did an incredible job and we are very impressed; I can feel the pride and excitement for the work you've done and will continue to do".