DPR Construction receives VPP safety recognition

December 10, 2003

The Department of Consumer and Business Services recognized DPR Construction, Inc. of Portland for its commitment to workplace safety and health on December 2nd. DPR Construction was awarded "VPP Star" status by Oregon OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) for creating a "zero-injury environment" for construction work underway at the expansion of the Ronler Acres semiconductor facility in Hillsboro. The Voluntary Protection Program is a national safety and health management program that encourages employers to voluntarily meet rigorous workplace safety standards to protect workers and reduce injuries. Currently, nine sites participate in VPP throughout the state of Oregon.

"When you qualify for VPP, you have proved yourself to be among the best of the best when it comes to safety and health," said Peter De Luca, administrator of the DCBS Occupational Safety and Health Division (also known as Oregon OSHA). "VPP sites have made a commitment to improving worker safety by management and employees collaborating to ensure safety is not just a priority, but a core value. DPR Construction is among a select group of workplace safety leaders throughout the state, and the nation."

At the Ronler Acres project, DPR Construction recorded almost 297,000 work hours without a reportable injury during the past three years. Subcontractors working under DPR at the construction project also apply the same commitment to safety. The three-year average for the number of injuries experienced by subcontractors where a day of work was lost or restricted at the Hillsboro project was 97 percent lower than the state average.

To achieve VPP status, a work site must have a three-year average injury and illness rate that is at or below those of other employers within their industry. The work site also undergoes an extensive Oregon OSHA review of workplace conditions, safety records, employee safety and health programs, and regulatory compliance, which includes interviews with employees. Evaluators review nineteen program elements including management commitment to safety, employee participation, self-inspection, safety and health training, emergency programs and drills, and preventative maintenance. Oregon OSHA's VPP employers are removed from routine scheduled inspection lists for the duration of their participation. Employees do not lose any rights under the program, and Oregon OSHA still investigates accidents, formal complaints and chemical spills.

There are currently nine VPP sites in Oregon. The additional VPP sites are Georgia-Pacific Toledo pulp and paper mill, Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill, Georgia-Pacific Coos Bay sawmill and planer, Frito-Lay Beaverton, Kerr McGee Chemical LLC in The Dalles, Timber Products Spectrum Division (TP Spectrum) in White City, PW Eagle in Eugene and Marvin Wood Products in Baker City.

For more information about involvement in the Voluntary Protection Program, contact Mark Hurliman, Oregon OSHA VPP program coordinator at 503-947-7437.