On Wednesday, Georg Fischer Central Plastics, at 39605 W. Independence, received Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) VPP Star certification — a voluntary protection program award. The site is the 42nd in the state to receive the honor, OSHA Area Director Steven Kirby said during the presentation.

On Wednesday, Georg Fischer Central Plastics, at 39605 W. Independence, received Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) VPP Star certification — a voluntary protection program award. The site is the 42nd in the state to receive the honor, OSHA Area Director Steven Kirby said during the presentation.

Kirby presented the certification, as well as a VPP Star flag and a plaque, to Smith, recognizing the company's achievement in promoting safety at the site.

“We have a robust VPP program in Oklahoma, and we welcome you (GF Central Plastics) as part of that,” he said.

Kirby said it takes a lot of commitment to strive for the honor.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, Kirby said there are usually about 5,000 (workplace) fatalities that occur every year in the U.S., and another three million injuries that occur.

“Taking part in the VPP certification and addressing hazards — looking for and finding those things — puts you ahead,” Kirby said. “OSHA's mission is everyone goes home safe, healthy and happy at the end of the day.”

Approval into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees.

GF Central Plastics President and CEO Mark Smith said safety is the responsibility of everybody at the plant.

“We are the first GF company to earn the OSHA VPP recognition,” he said. “Others are working on it right now.”

State Sen. Ron Sharp said GF Central Plastics has done an excellent job.

“We appreciate all you've done here,” he said.

On behalf of the state, state Rep. Dell Kerbs read a citation congratulating GF Central Plastics for earning the VPP Star award.

“The VPP Program Star award is one of the highest and most significant safety certifications a company can earn in the United States,” the commendation reads.

Shawnee's own GF Central Plastics is the epitome of entrepreneurial success in our state, proving that Oklahoma's best days lie ahead with economic freedom and entrepreneurship, Kerbs read from the citation.

VPP

According to osha.gov, the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) recognize employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. In VPP, management, labor and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through a system focused on: hazard prevention and control; worksite analysis; training; and management commitment and worker involvement. To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. Union support is required for applicants represented by a bargaining unit. VPP participants are re-evaluated every three to five years to remain in the programs.

VPPPA

According to vpppa.org, the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association, Inc. (VPPPA) —the Premier Global Safety and Health Organization — is the leading organization dedicated to cooperative occupational safety, health and environmental management systems. VPPPA, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is a member-based association, providing a network of more than 2,300 companies and worksites who have achieved or are striving for occupational safety and health excellence, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) or the Department of Energy's (DOE) Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP).