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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Organizations achieve VPP Star status

By Colie Young and Capt. Justin Jacobs | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | October 16, 2015

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MARINE CORPS SUPPORT FACILITY BLOUNT ISLAND Jacksonville, Fla. – During a ceremony, Blount Island Command and Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island were recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for their commitment to safety excellence and awarded Voluntary Protection Program Star status, Oct. 16.

Maj. Gen. Charles Hudson, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations Command, attended the ceremony, which designated Blount Island Command as the first operational command to achieve Star status and Marine Corps Support Facility as the third Star site within the Marine Corps.

Col. Brian G. Hughes, commanding officer, Blount Island Command and Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island, opened the ceremony and specifically pointed out and congratulated each individual aboard the facility.  

“It was absolutely a team effort, and without the team and each individual and section’s contributions, we would not be here today receiving this momentous milestone in our VPP journey,” Hughes said.

He added the team was presented with an award afforded a level of prestige that puts them in an elite category.

“This means we have, and need to continue, holding up our end of the bargain to those deployed around the globe,” Hughes said. 

OSHA representative Brian Sturtecky handed a large plaque to Hughes and Jeff Churchill, command safety officer.

The VPP Star worksite designation is OSHA’s highest honor and recognizes worksites that are committed to safety excellence and protecting their employees beyond the requirements of OSHA standards according to www.osha.gov. The average VPP site has a work-related injury rate at 52 percent below the national average for their respective industries.

Within the OSHA program, three levels of designation or achievement can be attained: Star, Merit, or Star Demonstration.  The Star designation indicates the installation’s successful demonstration of continued and ongoing planning, implementation, integration and control of the four interdependent elements of the VPP at the highest level:

·         Management leadership and employee involvement

·         Worksite analysis

·         Hazard prevention and control

·         Safety and health training

In 1982, OSHA formally announced the VPP and approved the first site.  In 1998, federal worksites became eligible for VPP.  The benefit comes, officials say, for employees as well as industries as a whole when fewer injuries and illnesses mean greater profits as workers’ compensation premiums and other costs drop.
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