Southwire’s California Customer Service Center (CSC) in Rancho Cucamonga held a flag raising ceremony on Friday, July 20, in celebration of its achievement as a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site through the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH or Cal/OSHA).
According to Cal/OSHA’s website, the VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. The purpose of the VPP is to emphasize the importance of, encourage the improvement of and recognize excellence in employer-provided, employee-participative, generally site- specific occupational safety and health programs. In the process, these work sites serve as models for effective safety and health programs in their industries. “This has been a five-year journey and there have been many victories and lessons learned, but our employees have always been a key to our success,” said Hermis Udokop, California CSC manager. “VPP is an employee driven safety program and the level of dedication that our employees have shown over the last five years has truly been remarkable.”
Throughout the road to VPP Star Site status, employees at Southwire’s California CSC worked diligently to understand and identify areas for improvement. Major focuses for these improvements included upgrades or additions to machines and safety signage. Employee engagement was also integral to this achievement through organizing safety awareness projects, conducting investigations, performing various audits and inspections, attending and leading training sessions and completing action items from the final report. “There is a quote that says, ‘culture can define management systems, but management systems will never define culture,’ and our employees have really taken that to heart,” said Udokop. “All of our employees have embodied our safety culture here at California CSC, and we look forward to sustaining and continuously improving our commitment to safety.”
As part of the celebration, employees, company leadership, Cal/OSHA executives and state and local officials gathered to share a meal at the facility. “Becoming a VPP Star site is the gold standard for safety that only 69 sites in the state of California have achieved,” said Brent Rogers, Southwire’s vice president of distribution and transportation. “At Southwire we are committed to creating a culture where safety is at the forefront, and that starts with all of us. When we see this VPP flag, we need to view it as not only an honor, but also be reminded of the hard work and discipline that went into achieving this certification.”
Congratulatory speeches were presented by Iraj Pourmehraban, Cal/OSHA VPP manager; Rancho Cucamonga Mayor L. Dennis Michael; and Melissa Boyd, representative for the California Senator’s office. Guests were also offered the opportunity to participate in plant tours to see the safety improvements that have been made as part of the VPP certification process.
“VPP is a never-ending journey, and it is everybody’s program” said Pourmehraban, “We are looking forward to our partnership with Southwire moving forward as we learn from each other.”