Custom compounder Star Plastics Inc. recently marked five years with no lost time incidents.
Ravenswood, W. Va.-based Star reached that milestone on Nov. 29. In a news release, officials said that safety has been the firm's first priority since it opened in 1988. And while the five-year mark is impressive, it's two years less than the record Star set in the late 1990s.
"We've been working to get back to that record, and beyond," plant manager Mike Moran said in the release. Officials added that at Star, a no lost time incident means no incident requiring time away from a shift.
"The first time we miss anything that's scheduled, that's lost time, and that's an 'incident' in our book," they said. "Our team takes pride in practicing safety measures and efficiency."
Star Plastics also reached another milestone of one year with zero OSHA recordables on Dec. 15. For Star, this means no incident that required medical treatment beyond first aid occurred at the facility.
"This was another very positive safety goal that was achieved by our workforce," officials said.
"It starts with good training and correcting unsafe behaviors as they happen — mainly coworkers helping coworkers," Moran added. "We do a lot of self-policing."
Several years ago, Star implemented an environmental, health and safety walk through process. The firm's safety team, made up of a variety of management and team leaders, walks through each facility every other week.
"We cover different areas of the plant while reviewing a specific checklist in order to see the plant with fresh eyes," officials said. Other safety improvements put in place at Star include a powered roller system, lighting and layout improvements and equipment to help with the removal and installation of heavy molds.
"When our employees are safe, they can focus on producing high-quality products," officials said. "The procedures set in place for safety are also set in place to create an environment where quality products are made."
"The biggest thing for me is that our employees get to go back home after work safe and sound every day, to spend time with their loved ones, safe and injury free," Moran added.
Star was founded by owner Doug Ritchie in 1988. The firm also operates a compounding plant in Millwood, W. Va., and two in China.
Star does compounding work in polycarbonate, ABS and other engineering resins, with a focus on flame-retardant grades. In addition to custom compounding, the firm also offers toll compounding services. Star employs about 175 worldwide.