October 21, 2020
Stepan Company’s manufacturing site in Winder, Georgia, has been recertified for the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA). The recertification process involves a mandatory five-year review where OSHA officials visit our site to verify that the program in place is effective. The VPP recognizes employers and employees for developing and implementing continuous improvement workplace safety and health management programs that result in injury and illness rates below the national averages for their respective industry
As recommended by the program auditors, OSHA awarded Winder the Star designation, the highest level of the VPP. Since 2002, the team at Winder has achieved this prestigious recognition in safety through their dedication to Stepan’s value of People First.
The team is focused on keeping themselves, each other and their community safe. Two of Stepan’s Behavior-Based Safety Team members shared their secrets to success. Bob Glockson, Stepan Utility Operator, and Kris Pope, EO Kettle Operator, have more than 20 years of tenure at Stepan and are passionate about keeping their colleagues safe.
Could you explain the value of having VPP for this site?
Pope: “We truly strive to be safe and the VPP certification shows that we aim to exceed [expectations] — we are always working to do something extra when it comes to safety. We are empowered to speak up or stop work if we see something that seems unsafe.”
Glockson: “Safety has always been a top priority for us. We are not only safe for our colleagues on site, but also for the community around us.”
Could you describe the Behavior-Based Safety Team at Stepan and what they do?
Pope: “We observe our colleagues’ actions and try to help them be safer by giving them redirect suggestions [for] how to fix unsafe behavior. We have had a lot of success getting participation because we are truly a family here. We all care that everyone goes home safely every day. It’s not just something we say — safety is our top priority and we act accordingly.”
Could you describe what safety culture at the Winder site looks like?
Glockson: “Our safety culture is a team effort. Everyone wants to participate and make things better at Winder. We all see the value of improving and implementing practices to make ourselves safer. Additionally, we truly believe that safety culture is just as important at home. Practicing safe behaviors is important no matter where you are.”
Our sites in Millsdale, Illinois, and Anaheim, California, are also OSHA VPP Star certified. In addition, all of our sites in the United States are American Chemistry Council Responsible Care® certified. Stepan is a charter member of this initiative within the chemical industry to drive continuous improvement in environmental, health, safety and security performance.
Stepan puts people first. Our commitment to safety goes beyond the office. We are also committed to safety at home and in the communities in which we operate, which is why we are dedicated to creating a zero-incident safety culture across the organization.