Pfizer Kalamazoo Facility Receives State's Highest Safety and Health Award

Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

May 14, 2008 - The Pfizer Kalamazoo facility received the Michigan Voluntary Protection Program (MVPP) Star Award today from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) for workplace safety and health excellence. The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG).

"Pfizer is a global leader in health care − they are also one of Michigan's premiere companies," said DLEG Director Keith W. Cooley. "We are proud today to present the Pfizer Kalamazoo Manufacturing facility with the Star Award. Your safety and health diligence sends a strong message to all employers that worker protection is a sound business decision."

MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski presented the MVPP Star Award to Pfizer Kalamazoo Site Leader Niall Condon and representatives of the Pfizer Kalamazoo County team. Pfizer Global Manufacturing President Nat Ricciardi congratulated Kalamazoo employees on their safety and health success. Members of the Pfizer team raised the MVPP flag in front of the company's Portage, Mich., manufacturing complex.

"This award proves that a safe and healthy workplace is a core value at Pfizer," said Niall Condon, Vice President and Kalamazoo Site Leader. "It proves that we won't settle for ‘good enough.' We're determined to be the best. That applies to the quality of our medicines as well as the quality of our site."

This is the most prestigious safety and health award given in Michigan. MIOSHA established the MVPP program in 1996 to recognize employers actively working toward achieving excellence in workplace safety and health. Since 1999, Michigan has recognized 23 MVPP Star companies.

The incidence rates at the Kalamazoo facility are well below the industry average for their NAICS code 3254 − Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing. Their total case incidence rate (TCIR) was 2.7 in 2005, 2.5 in 2006, and 2.2 in 2007 − compared to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average of 3.8 in 2005, and 3.4 in 2006 and 2007. The total day's away/restricted cases (DART) rate was 1.5 in 2005, and 1.1 in 2006 and 2007 − compared to the BLS industry average of 1.8 in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The Kalamazoo site produces high-quality medicines and employs 3,500 workers. It is the largest Pfizer manufacturing facility in the world, as well as Pfizer's global research headquarters for veterinary medicine. The facility is ISO 14000 and OHSAS 18000 certified.

"National VPP sites experience 60 to 80 percent less lost work day injuries than would be expected of an average site in their industry," said Kalinowski. "Not only does the MVPP program significantly reduce injuries and illnesses-it also has a tremendous impact on the bottom line."

The MIOSHA review team consisted of Doug Kimmel, Team Leader and CET Safety Specialist; Deb Gorkisch, Lee Jay Kueppers, Linda Long, and Micshall Patrick, CET Safety Consultants; and Dave Humenick and Gregg Grubb, CET Industrial Hygienists. The MIOSHA review team conducted 83 formal and 51 informal interviews during the Star site visit. The team examined each of the required elements of their safety and health management system, and found them to effectively address the scope and complexity of the hazards at the site.

MIOSHA General Industry Safety Standard 91, Process Safety Management (PSM), applies at this site, as large quantities of many hazardous chemicals listed in the standard are utilized. A PSM review was conducted by Mark Scott, Senior Industrial Hygienist, MIOSHA General Industry Safety & Health Division. The site was found to be in compliance with PSM.

As the cornerstone of Pfizer's success in workplace health and safety, Pfizer's colleagues have implemented a company-wide set of policies, standards, and programs combined with site-level management systems and initiatives tailored to the particular safety issues and needs at each location.

Pfizer safety and health goals and commitments include: 

  • To provide a safe and healthy work environment for every Pfizer colleague and for the communities in which they work and live. 
  • To ensure a strong safety culture in all operations in order to deliver a safe working environment and help eliminate work-related illnesses and injuries. Areas of excellence at the Kalamazoo facility include: 
  • Contractor safety program, 
  • Safe Work permit, 
  • Pass Over meetings (shift change meetings), 
  • On the Job Training program - for new and transferred employees, 
  • Chemicals college for system operators, 
  • Employee training opportunities, 
  • Ergonomic/stretching/posters, and 
  • Enclosed open air compressed gas cylinder storage.

Pfizer is the world's largest research-based biomedical and pharmaceutical company with 89,000 employees in more than 100 countries, including nearly 4,000 in Michigan. Pfizer is committed to being a global leader in health care and to helping change millions of lives for the better through providing access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and related health care services to the people who need them. Kalamazoo County hosts Pfizer's largest manufacturing site in the world as well as the company's global research center for veterinary medicines.