(Carrollton, Ga.– May 22, 2009) – Southwire’s Company’s customer service center in Villa Rica, Ga. is a star.
The company’s West Georgia Customer Service Center has been awarded Star status by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). The program recognizes companies that meet a high set of safety standards.
“Safety is a top priority at every level of our company,” said Southwire President and CEO Stu Thorn. “Working to attain VPP status at all of our facilities shows just how committed we are to providing safe workplaces for each of our business people.”
OSHA officials plan to officially recognize the West Georgia Customer Service Center during a special flag raising ceremony at the center May 28.
When a company applies for VPP certification, OSHA completes a thorough examination of the company’s health and safety practices. OSHA officials create a pilot plant for the facility, focusing on leadership, analysis of the worksite and training employees in the standards of health and safety.
After the plan is established, OSHA conducts a worksite inspection, and any problems must be corrected in 90 days.
The first Southwire facility to achieve VPP certification was Forte Power Systems in Heflin, Ala. The plant – the first manufacturing facility in the wire and cable industry to earn Star status – held its own flag raising ceremony in September 2008. With the addition of the West Georgia Customer Service Center, Southwire is one step closer to its goal of having all sites attain VPP Star status by 2012.
“VPP helps us organize our efforts to have all employees focus on safety improvement,” said Robbie Blackmon, Southwire’s vice president of logistics. We are building a safe operation, not just hitting safety high points when we can.”
Kevin True, a customer service trainer and safety committee leader at the service center, said the certification process has been a team effort. The service center’s employees formed six safety committees that meet regularly to discuss safety and health issues.
“All the employees, from the second we get into work, have our minds focused on safety,” True said. “The employees have the ideas and they are the ones who strive for better values. That’s the goal for every safety committee meeting, for every shift at work. Safety is our top priority.”
“The award is a show of achievement,” he added. “It’s a good feeling to know the company cares. They don’t have to, but they do. The VPP status shows how proud everyone is to work at Southwire.”
Southwire warehouse specialist Ricky Bowen approaches safety in a different way. A first responder, Bowen is trained in lifesaving techniques and is ready to offer assistance should any serious incidences occur. The service center has a first responder room, where emergency equipment is readily available for use.
“Everybody is working towards the same goal out here,” Bowen said. “It just gives you a sense of pride.”
Media Advisory: OSHA will hold a VPP flag raising ceremony at Southwire’s West Georgia Customer Service Center on Thursday, May 28. The event will start at 2 p.m. The service center is located at 5810 Trade Center Court, Villa Rica, Ga. 30180.