Mar 22, 2023
Southwire’s plant located in Heflin, Ala., has received a five-year Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) recertification.
OSHA recognizes employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies that have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national averages for their respective industries.
Obtaining this recertification means that Southwire’s Heflin Plant meets VPP Standard requirements. The recertification consists of auditing four main elements of the VPP program: worker involvement, hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis and training and management commitment.
“This recertification is a great achievement for the Heflin Plant and validates our total team member involvement and continued commitment to the health and safety of our team members,” said David McLendon, plant manager. “These audits are rigorous and help show us the areas where improvement is needed. We’ll celebrate the achievement, but we’ll also immediately take the results of the audit, get to work and improve.”
The process begins with perception surveys, in which team members are tested on their knowledge of safety and the culture of safety at the facility. The surveys are followed by a review of incident and program records, a physical audit of the facility and a follow-up audit to ensure that all action items were completed.
“This recognition requires continuous improvement. It’s not a passive program, and obtaining and maintaining the certification requires us to continue to improve our safety program overall,” said McLendon. “Our facility will continue to strive for excellence, and we look forward to our next VPP evaluation in five years to showcase our growth and continued commitment once again.”
The Heflin Plant was Southwire’s first facility to achieve VPP Star status, a program that recognizes worksites with comprehensive and successful safety and health management systems. Star sites are also self-sufficient in their ability to control workplace hazards.
Jamie Wainscott, senior director of environmental health and safety (EHS), says that years later, Heflin’s safety efforts continue to foster team member engagement and ownership in problem-solving initiatives.
“The OSHA VPP cooperative program aligns with our strategic focus to continually improve and drive safety, and the results show the effort and dedication it takes to achieve and maintain 14 years of participation in the program,” said Wainscott. “The Heflin team continues to lead with a passion for safety, and we look forward to what they will achieve next.”