Y-12 earns VPP award

Posted: December 5, 2016 - 10:54am

Y‑12 representatives brought home a star from the 32nd Annual National Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association (VPPPA) Safety and Health Conference in Kissimmee, Florida, in September.

The conference gathered safety leaders from 400 industries that participate in the VPPPA. The Star of Excellence Award Y‑12 won recognizes sites that maintain a recordable injury rate that is 75 percent better than U.S. businesses in the same industry. The 2016 award is based on statistics from the 2015 calendar year.

Brad Davy, director of Department of Energy’s Office of Worker Safety and Health Assistance, presented the award. “This award provided by the Department of Energy recognizes a contractor for excellence in safety and health systems going above and beyond requirements and demonstrating effective management commitment and employee involvement while applying the Integrated Safety Management System,” he said.

The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is the result of cooperation between companies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, state OSHA leaders, members of congress, DOE, and the Department of Defense.

CNS Senior Director of Environment, Safety, and Health Chris Cantwell said the award criteria is a gateway but is not the destination. “The Star criteria is a threshold, but it doesn’t mean that we’re satisfied with that — that we’re finished,” Cantwell said. “We will strive to improve far beyond the minimum.”

Y-12 VPP Facilitator Vaughn Hooks noted that the award criteria considers factors in addition to injury incident rates. “Demonstration of the extent and effect of the site’s mentoring and outreach efforts is one of the criteria to be recognized for the Star of Excellence award, and Y‑12 has a long tradition of investing in its local community through volunteerism and charitable contributions,” Hooks said.

When the award plaque was presented to Y‑12 Site Manager Bill Tindal during a recent managers meeting, he pointed out that the award belongs to all Y‑12 employees for their efforts to work safely every day.

Don Walker of Y‑12 Safeguards and Security’s Protective Force Operations and Training completed the Special Government Employee Program before the conference began. This program allows industry employees to work alongside OSHA and DOE during VPP on‑site evaluations. Not only does this innovative program benefit OSHA by supplementing its on‑site evaluation teams, but it gives industry and government an opportunity to work together and share views and ideas.