GE Erie Plant Achieves Employee Safety and Health Milestone

GE Transportation Systems' Erie, Pa., facility is the\r\nlargest manufacturing site in the state and one of the 10 largest\r\nworksites in the country to be inducted into OSHA's Voluntary\r\nProtection Program (VPP).

GE Transportation Systems'' Erie, Pa., facility has become the largest manufacturing site in the state and one of the 10 largest worksites in the country to be inducted into OSHA''s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). The company has been awarded the highest honor, "STAR" status.

GE Transportation Systems'' environmental, health and safety record, which includes an injury rate reduction of more than 80 percent at the Erie plant over eight years, was compiled even as production rates at the plant quadrupled, according to William Yuskovic, manager of GE''s environment, health and safety program.

"VPP recognition by OSHA is an outstanding accomplishment for the entire team in Erie, Pa.," Yuskovic said. "Every one of the more than 5,300 Erie-based employees deserves credit for this achievement. Now the challenge lies ahead to continually work safely every day and increase safety awareness."

GE Transportation Systems began pursuit of VPP STAR status in 1994 with the initial written application for OSHA''s VPP program detailing the plant''s safety and health programs, policies and practices.

Then, a team of OSHA employees spent a week on-site conducting a detailed evaluation and interviewing more than 300 employees.

Following the inspection, the team recommended that the Erie site be accepted into the VPP program at the highest level, Star status.

STAR participants meet all of the program''s requirements, including on-site review, an annual evaluation and continuous improvement.

"At GE Transportation Systems, a key ingredient in VPP success is involving employees in the process ... tremendous employee involvement," said Yuskovic. "There is significant employee ownership of and contribution to the safety program. It is no longer a health and safety departmental endeavor. Teamwork pays."

The VPP programs was designed by OSHA in 1982 for worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health programs.

The program is open to any industry and to companies with injury incidences and lost workday injury rates at or below the industry''s national average.

"Admission of GE Transportation Systems to OSHA''s prestigious STAR program recognizes the outstanding achievement of those who have successfully incorporated comprehensive, proactive safety and health programs into their management system," said Richard D. Soltan, regional administrator for OSHA in Philadelphia. "The benefits of the program lead to OSHA''s ultimate goal -- the safety and health of workers."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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