Bridgestone/Firestone Plant Reaches VPP Milestone

Bridgestone/Firestone's Warren County plant is the only tire plant in\r\nthe United States that meets the rigorous safety standards of the Voluntary Protection Program.

Bridgestone/Firestone''s Warren County plant has become the first facility in Tennessee to be recertified and the only tire plant in the United States to meet the rigorous safety standards of the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

At a ceremony Monday at the plant, Tennessee Labor Commissioner and Workforce Development Commissioner Mike Magill presented the plant and United Steelworkers of America Local 1155L with the Volunteer STAR (Safety Through Achievement and Recognition) Award for this accomplishment. The award is presented to companies that have comprehensive safety and health programs that go beyond Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) minimum standards.

"Part of my CEO policy is that there is no job so important and no task so urgent that we cannot do it safely," said Masatoshi Ono, who also is chairman. "I am very pleased that this plant has implemented that philosophy to the fullest extent."

"Safety is a top priority in this plant -- ''safety first'' is a phrase that every team member takes very seriously," plant manager Isaac Motohashi said. "Because it is such a part of our day to day operation, there was never any doubt that we would once again achieve Volunteer STAR status. I am very proud of our team members for emphasizing safety every day, every moment on the job."

The Warren plant''s selection for the Volunteer STAR Award was based on a self-assessment checklist for VPP reviewed by Tennessee OSHA (TOSHA) and a rigorous on-site review by a team of safety and health specialists from TOSHA.

"The Volunteer STAR in the state of Tennessee is the greatest honor this department can bestow on a company," Magill said. "We recognize that TOSHA enforcement alone is not enough. Good safety management programs that go beyond TOSHA standards can protect workers more effectively than simple compliance."

Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is the largest subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp., the world''s largest tire and rubber company. The company also produces air springs, roofing materials, synthetic rubber and industrial fibers and textiles.

by Todd Nighswonger

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