Last week, Cintas Corporation’s First Aid and Safety Location in Canton, Ohio was formally honored as a Voluntary Protection Program Star certified location by the Ohio Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star program was created by OSHA to recognize stand-out worksites that have comprehensive, successful safety and health management systems. Companies that have earned a VPP Star designation have achieved injury and illness rates at or below the national average of their respective industries and have established strong workplace hazard control programs.
During the presentation at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Michael Smith, the location’s General Manager, accepted the honor on his team’s behalf.
“Being recognized by the Ohio Board with VPP Star certification is a tremendous honor for us,” Smith said. “We have dedicated employee-partners at our location, and they are invested in maintaining a safe workplace for each other. Gaining VPP certification was a long, thorough process, but it means so much to everyone here at this operation.”
OSHA established VPP to promote effective and cooperative worksite safety and health in both private industry and at federal worksites.
Achieving VPP certification is rigorous. Businesses must demonstrate that management and employees work cooperatively – and proactively – to prevent workplace accidents by implementing a comprehensive safety and health management system and maintaining injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistic averages for their respective industries.
This program is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. To remain in the program, VPP participants must be re-evaluated every three to five years.
As of August 2023, 125 Cintas facilities in the U.S. are VPP Star certified.
“The most important requirement for earning this distinction is that the location management team and the front-line employee-partners must work together toward the common goal of eliminating workplace injuries and illnesses,” said Stephen Jenkins, Cintas Director of Health & Safety, whose department oversees the company’s VPP certification process. “Without this critical element, a company will not qualify for this recognition. We’re incredibly proud of our employee-partners’ dedication to working collaboratively to maintain safe and healthy worksites throughout our company.”
Honda Uniforms Hit The Road In New Vehicles
Cintas Corporation recently collaborated with Honda to help give new life to end-of-life rental uniforms worn at the automaker’s U.S. manufacturing and R&D facilities in Alabama and North Carolina. The uniforms were turned into shredded fibers used in sound-absorbing insulation in Honda and Acura automobiles.
Cintas’ involvement in Honda’s program reinforced the company’s ambition to identify new ways to extend the usable life of its products and create circular economies when possible.
“Partnering with Honda on a program like this exemplifies our goal of leading A Shared Drive for Better,” said Christy Nageleisen, Vice President of Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) at Cintas. “We were excited to help find new uses for our end-of-life workwear products.
“It takes collaboration and curiosity for these types of opportunities to materialize,” Nageleisen continued. “We’re always looking for new opportunities to partner with customers on sustainability initiatives. Combining our different perspectives helps us identify innovative new solutions.”
Here’s how it works: Cintas uniforms worn by Honda associates were evaluated after the laundering process. Recyclable end-of-life garments were then sent to a vendor to make “shoddy,” a textile created by shredding existing fabrics and re-spinning them into a new textile, usually containing multiple colors. The shoddy was then sent to one of Honda’s vendors to be made into insulation, which was installed in new vehicles.
This program was unique to Honda, but Cintas anticipates its efforts to identify new uses for end-of-life products will continue.
“We’re always looking to explore products’ additional use cases, including repurposing an end-of-life product,” said Bryan Colpo, Cintas Director of Merchandising.
Watch the video below to see how it all happens: