VPP Star—Creating and Advancing a Superior EHS Culture
VPP is a federal OSHA program that promotes collaboration between OSHA and a business. With Bartell Machinery Systems, President Patrick Morocco and Head of EHS and Maintenance Michael Stoots spoke to Courtney Echerd on how this program can lead to an Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) culture within an organization. Bartell, a manufacturer of machinery systems, places safety top of mind.
“The basis is the need and emphasis on safety,” Morocco said. “And that is safety for our employees, our customers, our businesses, and ultimately our families. When you look at a business-like Bartell and the inherent risks that we’ve had within our operations -we have a full fabrication facility, welding operations, CNC machinery, and assembly of large machines. So, when you look at the complexity of overall operations, it’s really the right thing to promote a safe environment. Safety is part of our culture.”
It’s no small feat to achieve a VPP star certification. According to Stoots, it’s a three-year process. “There’s an application process you have to follow with four different key elements,” Stoots said. “It’s management leadership and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard identification control, and safety and health training.”
To be successful in this process, commitment from leadership is paramount. Then after an EHS policy statement gets created, policies and procedures are set in place to address the 4 key elements, then the workforce needs to learn it, practice it for at least a year, and only then can OSHA come and do a systematic on-site analysis of how a particular company operates. There is a lot of effort and work involved, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor in the quest for safety.