Several team members across the McWane family of companies attended the 31st Annual National VPPPA Conference in Grapevine, Texas, this week. Attendees pictured from left to right:
Attendees attend educational workshops designed to allow participants to exchange the latest best practices, programs, and innovations in occupational health and safety. The conference attracts some of the most innovative manufacturers of environmental, health and safety products and services, which give attendees an opportunity to see the latest and greatest products displayed all in one location.
We are proud that McWane currently has six facilities that have been certified by OSHA as VPP sites, which is evidence of our strong commitment to the best safety practices possible. We are committed to being the best we can be by doing our very best!
On Wednesday, June 17, the Manchester Tank & Equipment team in Elkhart, Indiana, celebrated the 5-year renewal of their VPP Star status. The Elkhart facility has been a Star site since 2008 and this latest renewal extends Elkhart’s Star designation to 2020.
Team members were congratulated by Jill Drajer (MTE-Elkhart General Manager), Robert Graumann (MTE President), and Tim Maley (Deputy Commissioner, Indiana Department of Labor – IOSHA).
Everyone enjoyed a hog roast, signed banners, and posed for a team photo to celebrate the re-certification!
No other company in the waterworks foundry industry has a single plant in the VPP program. McWane has seven. Clow Valve, Metal Casting Facility (Oskaloosa, Iowa), Clow Water (Coshocton, Ohio), Manchester Tank (Elkhart, Indiana), Manchester Tank (Petersburg, Virginia), Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Company (Provo, Utah), and Tyler Pipe (Marshfield, Mississippi) are all VPP Star facilities with Pacific States being the latest as of September 2013. Clow Valve, Machine Shop (Oskaloosa, Iowa) has earned VPP Merit accreditation – an effective stepping stone to achieving Star status.
In order to receive this accreditation, a facility has to successfully pass certification by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to become a Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Star Facility. According to the VPP website, “The VPP recognize employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals.”
Receiving a VPP Star ranking is no small honor as only .03% of all American companies qualify – putting those facilities awarded with the certification in an elite club for sure. For example, in the entire state of Utah – where Pacific States is located – only eight other facilities are considered VPP Star! Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health programs.
“The VPP designation indicates a true commitment from management and team members in working together, with everyone taking personal responsibility for safety and health,” said Barbara Wisniewski, Vice President of Health and Safety, McWane. Inc.
Brian Lichtenfels, Safety Manager at Pacific States, gave several words of advice for facilities preparing for an upcoming audit.
“If I could give someone three learned lessons to focus on in an upcoming audit, they would be: prepare, prepare, prepare. Make sure the whole facility is on the same page and do not be defensive with OSHA. Take a cooperative and open approach.”
Congratulations to every team member at all of our VPP Star facilities, and especially those at our latest – Pacific States, all of whom demonstrated their supreme commitment to the best safety practices and VPP principles! This is more proof that the McWane Way is about being the best by doing our very best.
Our own Andy Boise, a melting foreman at Clow Water Systems, composed lyrics and music to create a VPP Song, Everyone Goes Home From Here. Take a listen!
When the Clow Valve Metal Casting Facility achieved their goal of five year VPP STAR re-certification, the VPP committee immediately started brainstorming about ways they could recognize team members for their contributions toward achieving this goal. During the process a commemorative coin kept coming up similar to what team members saw at the Tyler Coupling VPP Forum in Marshfield, Missouri.
VPP committee member John Grahek as Chairman for the Foundry Education Foundation (FEF) Industrial Advisory Board for the University of Northern Iowa is familiar with student activities in metal casting and the fact that they had purchased a new Rapid Prototype Machine to make sand molds. “What a great way to give the students a challenging project and help Clow out with our celebration,” Grahek thought.
The VPP committee agreed and they sent the University a CAD model that Clow engineer Kyle Huelsman created and the rest is history. The students took the drawing and created a CAD model for an eight impression mold and began production. Clow supplied the lead free alloy and the students made molds, poured them off and finished them. The students cast over 150 of the commemorative coins.
In appreciation for a job well done, Clow plans to sponsor the student chapter’s attendance at the upcoming AFS Casting Congress meeting in April so students can network and learn even more about our awesome industry on their way to becoming future leaders in metal casting.