Sonoco has announced that its Cascades Sonoco facility in Tacoma, Wash., was awarded Star Level certification in connection with OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program.
The Star Program recognizes exemplary worksites that have achieved injury and illness rates at or below the national average in their industry. According to OSHA, the average VPP worksite has a lost workday incidence rate at least 50 percent below the average of its industry peers.
"Since the inception of the Cascades Sonoco joint venture back in 1992, safety has been a number-one priority," says Thomas Parenteau, plant manager. "We have a global health and safety policy put in writing, and it is signed by our CEOs. It says the health and safety of all employees shall be of the greatest interest to all levels of the organization, ranking in importance above production, quality, costs and service. It is something that we take very seriously because our employees are our most valuable asset. Achieving this certification involved a number of different initiatives including special training programs, safety audits and a high level of employee involvement and commitment. Safety is not a one-time event; it is an every second, every minute, every day focus. As proud as we are of this achievement, we understand the safety journey never ends."
"The team at the Tacoma site is a showcase for the principles of the Voluntary Protection Program, building exemplary safety and health programs through cooperation, management commitment and employees involvement. It is clear that Cascades Sonoco has a commendable program with proven effectiveness," states Joel Sacks, safety and health director with the State of Washington Department of Labor and Industries.
"Safety is the first thing we talk about at every meeting, which keeps it top of mind with everyone," says Parenteau. "Our mission, as it relates to safety, is to create an injury-free environment for our employees. We strongly believe that all injuries can and must be prevented. Safety is also strongly tied to the guiding principle of Sonoco, which is 'People build businesses by always doing the right thing.' Creating a safe work environment for our employees is certainly the right thing to do."
Sonoco Products Co.