Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill records ten years without a lost-time accident
The Department of Consumer and Business Services presented an award recognizing
ten consecutive years of safety at Georgia-Pacific's sawmill and planer
facility in Philomath on October 31. As of October 1, 2003, the Philomath
mill has operated for ten consecutive years without a lost-time accident.
"This is a remarkable achievement," said Peter De Luca, administrator
of the DCBS Occupational Safety and Health Division (also known as Oregon
OSHA). "Preventing accidents requires a commitment from management
and employees working together to be successful. This award emphasizes
how committed Georgia-Pacific is to safety, and how the employees in this
mill are dedicated to keeping this facility a safe place to work. Both
deserve our recognition."
The Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill is one of eight sites currently in
the Oregon OSHA Voluntary
Protection Program (VPP). The Voluntary Protection Program is a national
program that encourages employers to voluntarily meet rigorous workplace
safety and health management standards to protect workers and reduce injuries.
"Philomath is one of eleven VPP Star sites nationwide in the lumber
division of Georgia-Pacific," said Fritz Mason, group manager of
Georgia-Pacific's western lumber operations. "When you have this
status, sometimes it's easy to lose your focus. I am really proud of their
focus on working safely and to keep it in the front of everyone's mind.
It takes a lot of hard work on everyone's part to maintain this level
of commitment to safety. Ten years is a very long time, and a lot of work
To achieve Oregon VPP status, a work site must have a three-year average
injury and illness rate that is at or below those of other employers within
their industry. The work site also undergoes an extensive Oregon OSHA
review of workplace conditions, safety records, employee safety and health
programs, regulatory compliance, which includes interviews with employees.
Evaluators review nineteen program elements including management commitment
to safety, employee participation, self-inspection, safety and health
training, emergency programs and drills, and preventative maintenance.
Oregon OSHA's VPP companies are removed from routine scheduled inspection
lists for the duration of their participation. Employees do not lose any
rights under the program, and Oregon OSHA still investigates accidents,
formal complaints and chemical spills.
The Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill produces lumber from a variety of softwoods,
with an annual production capacity of 146 million board feet. Up to 150
people are employed at the sawmill and planer facilities.
Additional information about the Oregon OSHA Voluntary Protection Program
is available on the division's Web site, www.orosha.org