Occidental Chemical Corporation's Ludington Facility Receives Renewed MIOSHA Recognition of their Workplace Safety and Health Excellence

Contact: Paula Stevens 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

September 2, 2009 - Occidental Chemical Corporation's (OxyChem) calcium chloride manufacturing facility in Ludington recently received renewal of its MVPP Star Award, the state's highest workplace safety and health award, from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG).

"OxyChem's Ludington facility is to be commended for its exemplary commitment to workplace safety and health," said MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski. "They have created a culture where workplace safety and health is a top priority. The Ludington facility recognizes that a safe workplace provides the foundation for a productive workplace."

MIOSHA established the Michigan Voluntary Protection Program (MVPP) program in 1996 to recognize employers actively working toward achieving excellence in workplace safety and health. Since 1999, Michigan has recognized 27 MVPP Star companies. This is the most prestigious safety and health award given in Michigan. The OxyChem Ludington facility, formerly a Dow Chemical Company facility, first received MVPP Star approval on October 10, 2001.

"We are proud to have maintained our status as an MVPP Star recipient," said William Berrett, OxyChem's site plant manager. "Everybody at this facility works hard to achieve a goal of zero accidents. Our highest priority is the safety of our employees and our neighbors."

The Ludington facility's incidence rate and lost work day rate are well below the Michigan average for their NAICS code 325188 − All Other Basic Inorganic Chemical Manufacturing. Their total case incidence rate (TCIR) was 0.7 in 2006, 1.6 in 2007, and 0.7 in 2008-compared to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average of 2.9 in 2006, and 3.5 in 2007 and 2008. The total day's away/restricted cases (DART) rate was 1.4 in 2006, 0.8 in 2007, and 0.7 in 2008-compared to the BLS industry average of 1.5 in 2006, and 1.2 in 2007 and 2008.

The Ludington facility employs 130 workers and produces trademarked calcium chloride ice melt products such as PELADOW*, DOWFLAKE* and LIQUIDOW*.

The MIOSHA review team consisted of Doug Kimmel, Team Leader and Safety Consultant; and Dave Humenick, Industrial Hygienist. During the review, the team conducted five formal and 15 informal interviews. The team examined various elements of the safety and health management system, and found them to effectively address the scope and complexity of the hazards at the site.

The Ludington facility has an exemplary safety and health record, and has exhibited outstanding leadership in recognizing that a comprehensive safety and health system is critical to successful businesses today. The site has discontinued the bromine operation and no longer utilizes several hazardous chemicals. Because of the reduction in chemicals, the PSM standard no longer applies.

Several changes and improvements have been made in their safety and health management system since their 2005 evaluation, including: 
  • All manufacturing and engineering employees are now required to develop personal Safety Action Plans that detail how they will be more involved in safety. 
  • An assessment of all elevated work areas has been performed to ensure compliance with a corporate work standard. 
  • An Integrated EHS audit was performed by corporate safety and health experts. This was an in-depth audit of all site safety and health management systems. 
  • Implemented an electronic safety suggestion tool. 
  • Purchased cold weather gear for employees who are routinely working outside in cold weather.

Areas of excellence include: 

  • Continuous Hazard Analysis Tool (CHAT) - behavior based program that provides for observation and analysis of all aspects of the operation and utilizes CHAT cards that employees complete and turn in. 
  • To enhance new employee training, a mentoring program has been developed and implemented. 
  • They use a 175-pound mannequin to practice confined space rescues. 
  • Contractors are required to have a comprehensive safety system, with injury/illness rates below their industry average.

Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem) is a leading North American manufacturer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins, chlorine and caustic soda - key building blocks for a variety of indispensable products such as plastics, pharmaceuticals and water treatment chemicals. Other OxyChem products include caustic potash, chlorinated organics, sodium silicates, chlorinated isocyanurates and resorcinol. Based in Dallas, Texas, the company has manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada, Chile and Brazil.

Read more releases from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth