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Company earns rare designation

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Best Chairs touted as one of safest work places in state

By KEVIN KOELLING
Managing Editor

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CANNELTON – Best Chairs in Cannelton is among the 70 business establishments statewide earning the designation as “one of the safest places to work in Indiana.”

That’s according to Rick Ruble, commissioner of the Department of Labor’s Indiana office, who said the state has approximately 150,000 establishments.

He was addressing employees at a ceremony Thursday that included presentation of a Voluntary Protection Programs Star certification to the company. According to the website for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Star certification recognizes “employers and employees who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards and the development, implementation and continuous improvement of their safety and health management system.”

The program was launched as an experiment in California in 1979 and launched by OSHA three years later. To be certified, companies must apply, then undergo “a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts,” according to the federal agency.

Calling presentations such as Thursday’s “absolutely the best part of my job,”

Ruble said the achievement is the result of years of work and those who earn it “are a pretty elite group.”

“When you work for a company that achieves this VPP certification, you’re safer coming to work than you are at home in your bathtub,” he continued. “That’s scary, but statistically, it’s true. You’re more likely to fall and get hurt at home in your bathroom than you are at work.”

He learned from a corporate executive “who is very invested in VPP,” he said, “it requires absolute, complete management support and total employee involvement. You’ve got to have both.”

Best Chairs has that, “or otherwise we wouldn’t be here,” Ruble continued. “When you get to this level, you’re in an elite group. We don’t have to worry about you anymore, and when  I say ‘we,” (I mean) Indiana OSHA. We can focus our attention and resources in other work places where they need our help.”

The company first earned the certification in 2012, he noted before adding, “this is not a one-shot deal. The relationship continues. I’m sure it will.”