/images/product_buttons/MissingImage_button.gif/images/southwire_100x70.jpgSouthwire's Forte Power Systems Earns VPP StatusFortePowerSystemsEarnsVPPStatus.htm
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Southwire's Forte Power Systems Earns VPP Status

Company Working Toward Certification in OSHA Program For All Plants

(Carrollton, Georgia – 2008) – Southwire’s Forte Power Systems in Heflin, Ala. will be recognized as a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) site next month – a milestone marking the beginning of a company-wide move to earn VPP status in all Southwire facilities by 2012.

After two years of commitment and hard work, Forte is the first Southwire facility and the first manufacturing plant in the wire and cable industry to achieve VPP status. Officials from Southwire and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will honor that achievement during a special flag-raising ceremony Sept. 24.

“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.”

Through the VPP program, OSHA recognizes companies that go above and beyond standard safety and health compliance. Businesses voluntarily apply and the application process can take a couple of years. Companies must prove they have effective safety and health management systems in place before they can be considered VPP sites.

The best way for a site to satisfy application guidelines is to create a pilot plan focusing on management leadership, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and safety and health training. Once a pilot plan is in place, the applicant is ready for an OSHA worksite inspection. If any problems are found in the inspection, the company has 90 days to fix them. Upon passing a final inspection, the worksite is granted approval and awarded a VPP flag – a symbol of excellence in occupational safety and health.

Forte’s landmark achievement is due largely to total employee involvement, according to Ken Williamson, the plant’s safety manager.

“Never in my 40 years have I seen so many come together to achieve a common goal,” he said. “This enforces my belief that – given the resources, training and support – there is no limit to what our employees can accomplish.” 

Since the program’s creation in 1982, VPP worksites have seen a significant drop in lost-time and injuries. Statistics show the average VPP worksite has an incidence rate at least 50 percent below the industry average for days away from work, restricted work activity and job transfers.

As part of its certification, Southwire established behavior-based safety (BBS) programs in all manufacturing and distribution facilities. Behavior-based safety works on the theory that a majority of injuries are caused by unsafe behavior. By changing those behaviors, companies can significantly reduce their injury numbers.

As part of its behavior-based safety approach, Southwire has safety committees and group huddles – where plant workers meet at the end of a shift to discuss day-to-day operations with the next shift – in place to identify and eliminate unsafe practices.

“Implementing BBS, huddles, safety committees – a lot of things are already in place,” said Amber Perry, Southwire’s director of corporate safety. “We already are using a lot of VPP elements. Now, we’re building a comprehensive plan that brings them all together.”

About Southwire Company
A technology leader, Southwire Company is a major wire and cable provider in North America, manufacturing building wire and cable, metal-clad (MC) cable, cord products, utility cable products, industrial power cable, copper and aluminum rod and continuous casting technology.   Please visit Southwire’s website at www.mysouthwire.com.