Chatham plant earns prestigious OSHA Star
Sartomer, a business unit of Arkema, has earned special recognition at its Chatham, Va. plant. The site has received “Star” status – the highest safety and health ranking possible – under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). Both of Sartomer’s manufacturing sites in the U.S. are now OSHA VPP “Star” sites.
VPP recognizes employers and employees “who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards, and the development, implementation and continuous improvement of their safety and health management system,” according to OSHA’s website. Less than 0.02% of eligible U.S. worksites under OSHA’s jurisdiction are VPP “Star” certified.
“Chatham is honored to partner with OSHA, joining Sartomer’s West Chester, Pa. manufacturing site in achieving this distinction,” said René Neron, Sartomer’s regional plant manager for both locations. “Our employees recognize that nothing is more important than safety and they are dedicated to safety excellence.”
“This level of safety performance and ongoing commitment to personnel and process safety benefits our employees, the communities in which we operate, and ultimately, our customers,” Neron added. “Operating our sites according to the highest safety standards is integral to everything we do in manufacturing.”
OSHA and special government employees conducted an extensive evaluation of the Chatham site before deciding on the “Star” designation. The site met OSHA’s strict standards for worksite analysis; hazard prevention and control; safety and health training; and management leadership and employee involvement.
The OSHA team identified several areas of safety excellence including continual improvement in safety and health management programs, safe work permit execution, cleanliness and order, the use of visual management systems, proactive emergency response drills involving local emergency responders, and an effective behavioral-based safety (BBS) program.
The Chatham site’s safety accomplishments and programs include:
- Several employee-led teams dedicated to enhancing site safety
- Ongoing training for the plant’s Emergency Response Team (ERT), including fire school training
- Mandatory monthly safety meetings for all site personnel
- Top quartile performance in Arkema’s behavioral-based safety program
- Daily management review of any safety concerns or incidents
- Training plant personnel in First Aid, CPR, & AED (Automated External Defibrillation)
“We’re extremely proud to be granted VPP Star Certification at Chatham,” said Chris Glover, Arkema’s vice president, Manufacturing, Health, Environment, Safety, and Goods and Services Purchasing. “The site has made tremendous gains in employee engagement and involvement to achieve this level of safety performance. Sartomer epitomizes how safety is a core value at Arkema. We never compromise or cut corners when it comes to establishing, maintaining and improving a safe working environment.”
Approximately 60 employees work at Sartomer’s Chatham site, which produces specialty acrylate and methacrylate monomers and oligomers. Chatham is the fifth Arkema site to be VPP Star certified, joining other sites in West Chester, Pa., Axis, Ala., Bristol, Pa., and Beaumont, Tex.
A designer of materials and innovative solutions, Arkema shapes materials and creates new uses that accelerate customer performance. Our balanced business portfolio spans high-performance materials, industrial specialties and coating solutions. Our globally recognized brands are ranked among the leaders in the markets we serve. Reporting annual sales of €8.8 billion ($10.4 billion) in 2018, we employ approximately 20,000 people worldwide and operate in close to 55 countries. We are committed to active engagement with all our stakeholders. Our research centers in North America, France and Asia concentrate on advances in bio-based products, new energies, water management, electronic solutions, lightweight materials and design, home efficiency and insulation. arkema.com