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NEWS 

RELEASE


Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
 
For Immediate Release
September 5, 2007
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428
kevin.s.weeks@state.or.us

Weyerhaeuser Springfield joins workplace safety excellence program

No serious injuries at log sorting operation in over seven years


A Springfield wood-products producer can count itself among a select group of worksites across the state recognized for safety and health excellence.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) today presented "VPP Merit Award" status to Weyerhaeuser's Springfield TOPS wood-products facility. The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is a workplace safety and health management program that encourages employers to voluntarily meet rigorous workplace safety standards to protect workers and reduce injuries. Currently, 16 Oregon worksites participate in VPP.

No employees have been seriously injured during the four-year evaluation period leading to the VPP designation; the last time a Springfield TOPS employee was seriously injured on the job was 1999. Springfield TOPS employs 18 workers fulltime, sorting and scaling whole logs for use in Weyerhaeuser's wood-products mill.

"Creating a zero-injury culture requires a shared commitment by employees and management," said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA. "Merit status demonstrates that the employer and workers have become largely self-sufficient in pursuing their workplace health and safety. The VPP program provides employers with a blueprint for success, and when we work together we can accomplish incredible things to make workplaces safer."

To achieve VPP status, a worksite must have a three-year average injury and illness rate at or below the rates of other employers in the same industry. The worksite undergoes an extensive Oregon OSHA review of workplace conditions, safety records, employee safety and health programs, and regulatory compliance. The review includes Oregon OSHA interviews with employees.

Oregon OSHA has maintained a lengthy proactive relationship with the Weyerhaeuser facility. Springfield TOPS qualified for membership in Oregon OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) in 2001 and graduated from SHARP in 2006.

Evaluators review 19 program elements during the VPP approval process, including management commitment to safety and health, employee participation in safety, workplace self-inspection, providing safety and health training, emergency programs and drills, and preventive maintenance. VPP participants are removed from Oregon OSHA's routine scheduled inspection list for the duration of their participation. Employees do not lose any rights under the program. Oregon OSHA still investigates accidents, formal complaints, and chemical spills.

Fourteen worksites are members of Oregon OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program. Additional Oregon OSHA VPP sites are AmeriTies West LLC in The Dalles, BOC Edwards Medford Electronic Materials in White City, GE Security in Tualatin, Georgia-Pacific Toledo pulp and paper mill, Georgia-Pacific Coos Bay mill, Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill, iLevel by Weyerhaeuser Beaverton Service Center, Marvin Wood Products in Baker City, Masterbrand Cabinets in Hillsboro, PW Eagle in Eugene, Stanley Hydraulic Tools in Milwaukie, Timber Products Spectrum Division in White City, and Utility Vault in Wilsonville.

Two federal facilities in Oregon, the United States Postal Service Evergreen DCU in Hillsboro and Washington Group International in Umatilla, participate in the national Voluntary Protection Program coordinated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

 

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Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer & Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to www.orosha.org.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.
 

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