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GE Transportation Systems' Erie, Pennsylvania, Plant Achieves Employee Safety and Health Milestone

Submitted by: General Electric Company

Categories: Human Resources & Diversity1

Posted: May 15, 2000 – 12:00 AM EST


May 15 /CSRwire/ - GE Transportation Systems' Erie,
Pennsylvania, facility has marked a major employee safety and health
milestone, becoming the largest manufacturing site in Pennsylvania and one of
the ten largest worksites in the country to be inducted into the federal
Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Program
(VPP). The company has been awarded the highest honor, "STAR" status.
Of the six million worksites in the United States, just over 600 have
achieved the VPP STAR designation. GE Transportation Systems' environmental
health and safety record, which includes an injury rate reduction of more than
80% at the Erie plant over eight years, was compiled even as production rates
at the facility quadrupled, according to William Yuskovic, Manager of GE's
Environment Health and Safety program.
The VPP program was designed by OSHA in 1982 for worksites with
comprehensive, successful safety and health programs. The VPP program is open
to any industry and to companies with injury incidences and lost workday
injury rates at or below the industry's national average.
"Admission of GETS to OSHA's prestigious STAR program recognizes the
outstanding achievement of those who have successfully incorporated
comprehensive, proactive safety and health programs into their management
system," said Richard D. Soltan, regional administrator of OSHA in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "The benefits of the program lead to OSHA's
ultimate goal-the safety and health of workers."
John Stranahan, area director of the Erie OSHA office, said, "The VPP
program is designed to establish a relationship between employers, employees
and OSHA that is based on cooperation and partnership rather than
confrontation. Everybody wins!"
Representatives from the Philadelphia Region III Office of OSHA, including
Erie area director Stranahan, traveled to Erie today for an employee
commemoration. They presented a flag that will be flown at the facility to
show participation in the VPP program.
"VPP recognition by OSHA is an outstanding accomplishment for the entire
team in Erie, Pennsylvania," GE's Yuskovic said. "We're very excited about
our partnership with OSHA. Every one of the more than 5,300 Erie-based
employees deserves credit for this achievement. Now the challenge lies ahead
to continually work safely every day and increase safety awareness."
GE Transportation Systems began pursuit of VPP STAR status in 1994 with
the initial written application for OSHA's VPP program detailing the plant's
safety and health programs, policies and practices. Then, a team of OSHA
employees spent a week on-site conducting a detailed evaluation and
interviewing more than 300 employees. Following the inspection, the team
recommended that the Erie site be accepted into the VPP program at the highest
level, STAR status. STAR participants meet all of the program's requirements,
including on-site review, an annual evaluation and continuous improvement
"At GE Transportation Systems, a key ingredient in VPP success is
involving employees in the process ... tremendous employee involvement,"
Yuskovic said. "There is significant employee ownership of and contribution
to the safety program. It is no longer a health and safety departmental
endeavor. Teamwork pays."
GE Transportation Systems, a world-leading surface transportation company,
is one of the major businesses of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) and
provides freight and passenger locomotives; global services such as remote
monitoring and diagnostics, maintenance, performance upgrades and parts;
railway control and communications systems; motorized wheels for mining
vehicles, and e-business solutions such as http://www.TranShopNet.com, a global
online marketplace.

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