Star Level certification in Voluntary Protection Program affirms employee and management commitment to creating a safe workplace.
October 9, 2014
by Canadian Packaging Staff
HARTSVILLE, S.C.—The Cascades Sonoco facility in Tacoma, Wash. was awarded Star Level certification in connection with OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).
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 per cent 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 plant manager Thomas Parenteau. “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.”
Adds Washington State Department of Labor and Industries safety and health director Joel Sacks: “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.”
Parenteau concurs, “Safety is the first thing we talk about at every meeting, which keeps it top of mind with everyone.
“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,” sums up Parenteau.
Cascades Sonoco is a 50/50 joint venture established in 1992 to bring together strong technology platforms for the coating and lamination of industrial papers and other substrates. Cascades Sonoco has four locations: two in the U.S. and two in Canada.
Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and packaging supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $4.9 billion, the Company has more than 19,900 employees working in 335 operations in 33 countries, serving many of the world’s best known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2014/2015 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more information on the company, visit www.sonoco.com.
Founded in 1964, Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products that are composed mainly of recycled fibers. The Company employs close to 12,000 employees, who work in 100 production units located in North America and Europe. With its management philosophy, half a century of experience in recycling, and continuous efforts in research and development as driving forces, Cascades continues to deliver the innovative products that customers have come to rely on. Company information is available at www.cascades.com.