The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have implemented and maintained excellent safety and health programs. In order to participate in the program, OSHA sets performance-based criteria for a managed safety and health system, companies are invited to apply, and then applicants are assessed against the criteria.
Thomas & Marker was initially approved for the VPP Star Mobile Workforce Program in 2007, which is the highest achievement of the three programs. We are proud to note that we were the third General Contractor in the industry to receive this distinction in the country.
Re-certification occurs every 3-5 years. We were re-certified in 2010 and notified of our most recent re-certification in June 2015. For our 2015 re-certification evaluation, OSHA examined a wide range of procedures, departments, and documents before approving our VPP Star Mobile Workforce status. Based on Thomas & Marker’s commitment to safety in everything we do, we were confident that we would be on a smooth path to re-certification.
Elements of the VPP evaluation:
- Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
In this review phase, we were examined for our Company and senior leadership’s commitment to safety, as evaluated by the allocation of adequate resources, attendance at safety committee meetings, training sessions provided and attended, and the incorporation of safety and health evaluations into project planning meetings. Our associates were interviewed about details of how they incorporate safety into all phases of their projects.
- Worksite Hazard Analysis
To ensure that we continued to successfully incorporate safety and health reviews in our project pre-planning activities, the VPP evaluation team conducted a series of interviews and rigorous inspections in 2014, visiting three randomly selected sites: Ada First United Methodist Church, Ada, Ohio; Findlay High School, Findlay, Ohio; and Fire Station #3, Columbus, Ohio.
- Hazard Prevention and Control
Thomas & Marker augments engineering controls with administrative controls, work practice controls, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when necessary for areas of concern, such as fall hazards and flying particle hazards.
- Safety and Health Training
Thomas & Marker was recognized for our excellent safety and health training program, which includes the following:
– OSHA 10-hour training requirement for all field associates
– OSHA 30-hour training requirement for all Superintendents, Foremen, and Project Managers
– Site-specific safety and health training provided to all associates and subcontractors for each project
– Additional equipment and/or site-specific hazard training conducted as needed for job performance
– Refresher training conducted annually
– Tool Box Talks held at each job site and led by our Project Superintendents on a weekly basis
– Well-organized training records and documentation at the corporate level, and by each job site
– Our Safety Recognition Program which encourages workers to strive for safe measures on all job sites; superintendents and foremen monitor their workers’ efforts and recognize notable achievements
– Active Drug-Free Workplace Program
Not only did we successfully pass the re-certification process, but our disciplinary action program and our consistent performance of pre-installation meetings with all subcontractors throughout all phases of construction activities were recognized as “Areas of Excellence.” OSHA Team Leader, Chad Positano, said, “Thomas & Marker’s documentation in both the office and the field has been impressive.”
Craig Marker, our Safety Manager, shared: “The VPP re-certification process was a great experience for me. I was excited for the opportunity to show OSHA our strong commitment to safety, and our drive to continuously improve the safety program and procedures.”
With this re-certification, we are recommitting ourselves to the highest levels of safety protocol in our industry and setting ourselves apart from the competition.