Herman Miller's 171st Facility Center Receives Renewed MIOSHA Recognition of their Workplace Safety and Health Excellence

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

March 13, 2013 - The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) recently granted renewal of its MVPP Star Award, the state's highest workplace safety and health award, to Herman Miller's 171st Facility located in Spring Lake, MI. The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).


"MVPP status is rare in Michigan - it is a rigorous process that takes commitment. This is the second Herman Miller facility to have their MVPP status renewed this year, which is very commendable," said MIOSHA Director Martha Yoder. "Herman Miller's long-time commitment to workplace safety and health sends a strong message to other Michigan companies. Herman Miller's record shows 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 29 MVPP Star companies. This is the most prestigious safety and health award given in Michigan. The 171st Facility first received MVPP Star approval on July 21, 2006 and was recertified in 2009.


The 171st Facility's incidence rate and lost work day rate are well below the Michigan average for their NAICS code 337214 - Office Furniture (Except Wood) Manufacturing. Their total case incidence rate (TCIR) was 1.1 in 2009, 3.0 in 2010, and 4.0 in 2011, compared to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average of 3.6 in 2009, 3.8 in 2010 and in 3.6 in 2011. The total day's away/restricted cases (DART) rate was 0.0 in 2009, 1.0 in 2010, and 2.0 in 2011, compared to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average of 3.6 in 2009, 3.8 in 2010 and in 3.6 in 2011.


The 171st Facility employs 775 employees, and manufactures many of the company's metal storage products. The MIOSHA review team consisted of Deborah Gorkisch, Team Leader/Senior Safety Consultant, and David Humenick, Senior Occupational Health Consultant. During the review, the team conducted three formal and 31 informal interviews. The team found their safety and health management system effectively addresses the scope and complexity of the hazards at the site.


Herman Miller's corporate mission is inspiring designs to help people do great things. A key element of their mission is to create a safe, healthy and productive work environment for their own employees. The 171st Facility employees participate in the facility's safety and health efforts through teams, committee membership, a suggestion program and physical inspections.


The 171st Facility has several best practices that are identified as "Areas of Excellence," including:

  • Behavior Based Safety (BBS) "Sweeps" - these are "big picture" observations that are conducted in addition to the observations performed by the shop floor BBS steering team members. The results of the sweeps are reported to management, which provides them with ideas about where to focus their efforts.
  • "Busted," a proactive "safety done right" identification system - when a safety team member or member of management observes a safe act, they will reward the team member with a candy bar.
  • Train-the-Trainer system - on a monthly basis the safety team members and work team leaders attend train-the-trainer sessions on various safety topics. The safety team members and work team leaders then relay the information obtained during the training session to their co-workers and team members.
  • Value stream walkthroughs - walkthroughs that are conducted bimonthly by members of management, site safety leads, and engineers. Those leading the audits take two shop floor team members along with them to assist with the audit of the respective area. Safety updates are also discussed during the audits.
  • "7 Why's" brainstorming process - "7 Why's" refers to a problem solving method that requires team members to continuously ask, "Why is it done this way?" As an example, a team member evaluation determined that the pedestal value stream has high risk ergonomic concerns. One of the more serious concerns identified involves placing counter weights into cabinets. Due to the complexity of the process, the manager of the area assembled a team to determine how to improve the process using the "7 Why's" method.

Herman Miller's award-winning products and services generated more than $1.7 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012. Innovative business practices and a commitment to social responsibility have also helped establish Herman Miller as a recognized global brand and Herman Miller was named among the 50 Best U.S. Manufacturers by Industry Week. Herman Miller is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol MLHR. For additional information, visit www.HermanMiller.com.


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


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