Cintas Honored for Safety in the Workplace
Cintas Corporation and three of its employee-partners were recently recognized for their ongoing commitment to workplace safety and health and the United States Occupational Safety and Health Association’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP).
Myron Harper, Cintas corporate safety and health senior manager, and Meghan Moberly, Cintas first aid & safety regional service manager, have been awarded the Voluntary Protection Program Participants Association (VPPPA)’s prestigious SGE of the Year honors for their respective VPP Regions.
The SGE of the Year award honors VPP Special Government Employees (SGEs) for their efforts supporting VPP in their regions. Harper is based out of Indianapolis and was the Region V honoree, while Moberly, who is based in Kansas City, was the Region VII winner.
Additionally, Bobby Hunzicker, general manager at Cintas’ First Aid & Safety Location 479 in Kansas City, was recently recognized with VPPPA’s Star Among Stars Award for Region VII.
The Star Among Stars program was established to recognize Region VII VPP participants that post total case incidence rates (TCIR) and days away/restricted/transferred case incidence rates (DART) well below the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) national averages.
“Maintaining our employee-partners’ safety and health is a commitment embraced by our entire workforce,” says Stephen Jenkins, Cintas director of Safety and Health. “VPP is central to Cintas’ safety and health journey and we dedicate significant resources to the program. We are committed to pursuing — and then maintaining – VPP Star certifications at our locations, and we believe we’ve established standards and protocols that can help support other companies in their safety and health efforts. That’s one reason we also embrace our employee-partners efforts to participate in OSHA’s SGE program. We believe it’s one of the best ways we can give back and help make workplaces safer for all.
“We’re incredibly proud that our employee-partners have been recognized for their own commitments to VPP. Myron and Meghan do incredible work as SGEs. It’s fantastic that the VPPPA has recognized their dedication and influence in their roles to support safety and health in their regions’ workplaces. And as a Location, Kansas City First Aid and Safety has created and maintained a very strong culture of safety. This recognition is a great example of how our location leaders demonstrate a strong commitment to safety and health.” Jenkins adds.
Cintas’ commitment to OSHA’s VPP has set a new standard for U.S. companies. As of September 2022, a total of 127 Cintas U.S. facilities were VPP Star certified, a total that far outpaces every American company.
What is VPP?
OSHA established VPP to promote effective and cooperative worksite safety and health in both private industry and at federal worksites.
Achieving VPP certification is rigorous. Businesses must demonstrate that management and employees work cooperatively – and proactively – to prevent workplace accidents by implementing a comprehensive safety and health management system and maintaining injury and illness rates below national BLS averages for their respective industries.
Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. To remain in the program, VPP participants must be re-evaluated every three to five years.
What Are SGEs and What Do They Do?
OSHA launched the SGE program in 1994 to support the VPP’s on-site evaluations and leverage the expansive experience and knowledge base of safety and health professionals in the private sector. It also allows industry professionals to work alongside government officials and share views and ideas from a workplace perspective.
Prospective SGEs must apply to OSHA for consideration for the program, and must also receive the recommendation of their employers to apply. SGEs are selected from a competitive pool of applicants and have to meet specific criteria to be eligible, including employment at a VPP-certified location or by a VPP-approved employer, as well as successfully completing additional continuing education and certifications.
SGEs are volunteers and assist OSHA personnel during on-site facility evaluations. They may also conduct SGE training sessions and VPP application workshops, mentor sites that are applying for or re-certifying for VPP certification, or present on the VPP or other safety and health topics at regional or national VPPPA conferences and events.
According to OSHA, "The SGE Program encompasses the spirit of VPP – industry, labor, and government cooperation." This cooperative program "embodies the idea of continuous improvement, which allows SGEs to bring a unique perspective to the team effort and take back to their sites ideas and best practices to further improve worker protections."
What is the SGE of the Year Award?
The SGE of the Year Award was created by the VPPPA and, according to the organization, recognizes an SGE "who epitomizes and exhibits exceptional support, effort, and action in VPP, and in doing so sets him/herself apart from other SGEs."
Winners must meet three criteria: be actively involved in volunteer activities that benefit the VPP, perform outreach and assistance to employers/employees outside his/her own company, and demonstrate an outstanding commitment to the partnership ideals of VPP.