Canton, Ohio,
04:32 PM

Canton refinery achieves VPP Star Site status

In 2009, the Canton refinery officially informed the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that it intended to become a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Worksite. After years of dedicated work by employees from every part of the refinery, OSHA informed them that they had earned their VPP Star certification on April 27, 2017.

“This was an outstanding effort that brought us all together – all departments, hourly and salaried personnel – to achieve our common goal of being the safest worksite we can be,” said Refinery Manager Brad McKain. “We set up committees made up of hourly and salaried personnel to help drive different aspects of the VPP certification process, and they worked hard to make sure everyone understood how important this would be for us to achieve.”

One of the committees was tasked with establishing a VPP culture statement, and Darin Barber, Canton’s environmental, safety and security manager, said the committee went all-out. “They met with each employee on-site and compiled a list of what they believed was most important to our culture,” he said. “They communicated their findings to everyone, and developed the culture statement that’s still in use today.”

The culture statement was a good reminder of what VPP Star Site status means to the refinery and its people:

In addition, the committees addressed equipment compliance gaps and evaluated opportunities to enhance safety. They also focused on education and communications leading up to the on-site assessment in order to encourage widespread participation.

The on-site assessment was, in effect, the final exam for the refinery, and took place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, 2016. Safety Supervisor Heath Bittel said it was a huge success. “During the closeout meeting, the VPP team that conducted the assessment was very complimentary of the Canton refinery,” said Bittel. “They were impressed with the employees, leadership, safety programs, and our commitment.”

After the on-site assessment, there were two final items the refinery had to address to earn certification, which they did by February 2017. After that, the refinery’s VPP report was sent to the OSHA Region 5 headquarters, and then to Washington, D.C., where final approval and certification were granted.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our entire workforce,” said McKain. “Because of their hard work and enthusiasm throughout this journey, we have joined an elite group of companies that provide exemplary occupational safety and health protection.”

What is VPP Star status?

OSHA developed VPP to recognize employers and workers in private industry and federal agencies that have effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below the national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their industries.VPP focuses on management, labor/union, and OSHA working cooperatively and proactively to promote safety and prevent injuries. They do this by focusing on four elements:

1. Management leadership and employee involvement

2. Worksite analysis

3. Hazard prevention and control

4. Safety and health training