Dow Chemical Ludington Plant Receives State's Highest Safety & Health Award

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

JUNE 27, 2002 - Dow Chemical Company's Cal/Mag Ludington Plant has become the first chemical manufacturer in the state to receive the prestigious Michigan Voluntary Protection Programs (MVPP) Star award for workplace safety and health excellence.  CIS Deputy Director Kalmin Smith presented the Star flag at a special ceremony today on behalf of the Michigan Department of Consumer & Industry Services (CIS).

"The Dow Chemical Company is an outstanding corporate leader in Michigan and we're honored to present the Dow Ludington Plant with Michigan's highest safety and health award," said Smith.  "Their exceptional leadership in safety, health and the environment is a strong corporate example for all Michigan businesses."

The CIS Bureau of Safety and Regulation is responsible for the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA) program.  MIOSHA established the MVPP program to recognize employers actively working toward achieving excellence in workplace safety and health.  It was developed in 1996 to reward private and public sector work sites that develop and implement outstanding safety and health programs that go beyond MIOSHA standards.

Employees raised the MVPP Star flag during the ceremony. Accepting the Star award were Jeff Contardi, EH&S Delivery Leader, as well as EH&S employees Lisa Rokosky, Allen Arneson, Greg Dykstra, and Rick Treesh.  State and local elected officials, corporate leaders, as well as CIS and MIOSHA representatives, were on hand to congratulate the Ludington Plant employees and management on their outstanding achievement.

"We have a corporate policy that states protecting people and the environment will be part of everything we do and make," said Mike Miller, Manufacturing Leader, Dow Ludington Plant.  "We are extremely proud that our employees are being recognized for their outstanding efforts and leadership to continuously improve our safety and health performance."

The site uses Dow Global Work Process, complying with corporate and MIOSHA safety requirements, including approximately 60 corporate safety standards.  Based on interviews with employees and observation, MIOSHA found that employees are empowered to be "safety directors," and to integrate safety and health into all aspects of their operations.  Strong safety and health leadership was evident in all phases of the management system-there was a clear sense that employees recognize that safety is a core company value that will not be compromised.

The Ludington plant has 240 employees, with approximately 140 represented by the United Steel Workers of America, Local 12773-both union and management confirmed that they work together toward mutual goals.  All employees take "ownership" of the site's safety and health management system and all employees are encouraged to take a proactive personal interest in hazard prevention and control.  There is an electronic safety suggestion program, as well as a near-miss reporting and tracking system.

Contractors are also required to have a comprehensive safety program, with an injury/illness rate below their industry average.  Contractor orientation and training is very thorough, and includes an eight-hour safety awareness course, as well as the Dow Ludington safety orientation course.  They also pre-plan each job, to assure that hazards are identified and eliminated before the job is started.

The Ludington Plant=s Incidence Rates and Lost Work Day Rates are significantly below the Michigan average for their industry and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code 2819, "Industrial Inorganic Chemicals, Not Elsewhere Classified."  The Total Case Incidence Rate for the Ludington Plant was 2.3 in 1999, 3.0 in 2000, and 2.4 in 2001-compared to 4.2, 5.3, and 5.3, respectively, based on national Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.  The Total Lost Work Day Cases for the Ludington Plant was 1.2 in 1999, 1.9 in 2000, and 0.8 in 2001-compared to 2.1, 2.1, and 2.1, respectively, based on BLS data.

The Ludington plant produces Dow's trademark products PELADOW*, DOWFLAKE* and LIQUIDOW* calcium chloride, magnesium hydroxide, bromine and bromine derivatives. Dow Chemical Company is a leading science and technology company that provides innovative chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many essential consumer markets. With annual sales of $28 billion, Dow serves customers in more than 170 countries. Committed to the principles of Sustainable Development, Dow and its approximately 50,000 employees seek to balance economic, environmental and social responsibilities.

There are currently five other Dow sites in the national VPP program. These include Dalton, Georgia: Oyster Creek, Texas; Russellville, Arkansas; LaPorte, Texas; and Plaquemine, Louisiana. With this special recognition, these sites have been able to develop a constructive, non-confrontational relationship which has provided Dow a number of opportunities to show OSHA how regulation can be effective without being burdensome.