Herman Miller, Inc.'s Hickory Operations Receives Star Award for Workplace Safety and Health Excellence

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

May 23, 2012 - Herman Miller, Inc.'s Hickory Operations received the Star Award, the nation's highest workplace safety and health award, today from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

This is the fifth Herman Miller facility to qualify for the Michigan VPP Star Award. Qualification for the MIOSHA Star Award is an excellent reflection of Herman Millers' commitment to environmental, health and safety excellence and of the 390 Hickory Operations employees who helped make it possible.

"Herman Miller has been instrumental in helping America ‘Design and Build a Better World,'" said LARA Deputy Director Rob Nederhood. "It's an honor to present the MVPP Star Award to Herman Miller's Hickory Operations. Your dedication to workplace safety and health is an outstanding symbol of your corporate values."

LARA Deputy Director Rob Nederhood and MIOSHA Director Martha Yoder presented the MVPP Star Award Plaque and Flag to Scott Franczek, Director of Hickory Production Operations. Employees, elected officials and guests attended the presentation.

"I am extremely proud of the Hickory team and to be a part of this team," said Franczek. "The involvement of all of our employees, their creativity, and the care they have for one another have had a significant positive impact on our environment. The team has truly created a culture where safety is part of our Herman Miller fabric."

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 29 MVPP Star companies.

The Hickory facility manufactures office systems furniture sold under the brand names Ethospace (panels for office cubicles) and Canvas (cabinets and overhead storage systems). The incidence rates at the facility are below the industry average for their NAICS code 337214 - Office Furniture (except wood) Manufacturing. Their total recordable case rate (TRC) was 3.9 in 2008, 2.3 in 2009, and 1.7 in 2010, compared to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average of 4.4 in 2008, and 3.6 in 2009, and 3.8 in 2010. The total days away/restricted cases (DART) rate was 1.9 in 2008, 1.0 in 2009, and 1.1 in 2010, compared to the BLS industry average of 1.9 in 2008, and 1.5 in 2009, and 1.4 in 2010.

"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 Yoder. "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 − Doug Kimmel, Team Leader and CET MVPP Specialist; Deborah Gorkisch, CET Safety Consultant; and Dave Humenick, CET Industrial Hygienist − conducted 24 formal and 48 informal interviews during the site visit. The team examined each of the required elements of their safety and health management system, and found them to effectively address the complexity of the hazards at the site.

Herman Miller's corporate mission is to create great places to work. A key element of this is to create a safe, healthy and productive work environment for its own employees. Herman Miller employees participate in the EHS programs through environmental, health and safety programs (EHS) teams, monthly training, safety activities, events and initiatives, self-inspections/audits, and ergonomics.

Areas of excellence include:

  • Power press guarding - site has installed interlocked doors and light curtains on nearly all of their presses.
  • Fixtures have been designed and installed on some of the press brakes for holding and inserting blank parts. This keeps the operators hands out of the hazardous area.
  • To reduce noise in the power press area, noise reduction materials have been installed on the doors on the power presses.
  • To protect team members from exposure to heated surfaces on equipment, such as the exhaust stacks for wash lines, motors for mixers, etc., hot surface guards have been installed.
  • When determining the appropriateness of hearing protectors, the NRR rating of each device is 50%. The company believes that this gives a more realistic indication of the performance of the device and ensures that the team members are protected.
  • The "Get caught" behavior-based safety activity that rewards employees when they are "caught" doing something good.

Herman Miller strongly believes in creating a healthy and health-positive workplace. The health and well-being of the community is an essential goal for all Herman Miller employees, and an integral part of their aspiration to create a better world. As a company committed to ergonomic design, their goal is to make every employee and every customer comfortable, safe, and productive at work by applying these principles:  fit the user; fit the task; and allow for posture change and activity variety.

Herman Miller works for a better world around you-with inventive designs, technologies and related services that improve the human experience wherever people work, heal, learn, and live. A recipient of the National Design Award from the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the company's curiosity, ingenuity, and design excellence create award-winning products and services, resulting in more than $1.6 billion in revenue in fiscal 2011. Innovative business practices and a commitment to social responsibility have also established Herman Miller as a recognized global leader. In 2011, Herman Miller again received the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation's top rating in its annual Corporate Equality Index and was included in the Sustainable Asset Management Group's "Sustainability Yearbook". Herman Miller trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol MLHR. For more information, visit www.hermanmiller.com

For more information about MIOSHA, please visit www.michigan.gov/miosha

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