The Oklahoma City Phillips 66 terminal Tuesday joined an elite group of companies and sites as it received a key safety recognition from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA honored the facility and its employees for achieving the agency's Voluntary Protection Program Star qualification, awarded based on the company's safety policies and on how well employees understand and follow those policies.
A team of Phillips 66 executives traveled from Houston to recognize the local employees.
“Phillips 66 is very proud of Oklahoma joining the VPP Star sites. It's hard work, but it's well worth the effort to become part of this family,” said Bob Herman, senior vice president of health, safety and environment for Phillips 66. “We're committed to this program. We're in it for the long haul. The program cost us money, but it is the right way to run our business.”
Because of the Star recognition, the Oklahoma City terminal now can fly a special voluntary protection program flag in front of its main building.
“We chose to become part of VPP and to pursue this not because we like the flag flying — although it's a pretty neat thing at the end of the day — but because it fits our culture, one the Oklahoma City terminal pipeline exemplifies for us,” Herman said.
Phillips 66 is the 46th company in Oklahoma to achieve the VPP Star recognition. The Oklahoma City terminal is the 23rd Phillips 66 site to receive the award.
“It means a lot to us. We take safety very seriously,” Oklahoma City Terminal Supervisor Brandon Anderson said. “Being a part of this VPP program is something these guys have worked toward for a long time.”
The Oklahoma City terminal receives gasoline through a pipeline from the Phillips 66 refinery in Ponca City. The gasoline is distributed from the terminal to gas stations throughout the Oklahoma City area.
The Phillips 66 transportation division has completed more than two years without an employee recordable safety incident, said Debbie Adams, the company's president of transportation. She attributed much of the achievement to the company's effort to gain VPP recognition.
“It's really the employees owning safety and looking after each other,” she said.
“When they own it, it means they're not doing it because we told them to or because they'd get fired otherwise. They do it because they know it's the right thing to do. That makes a big difference.”
Improved safety is important for all of Oklahoma, not just the individual site, OSHA Area Director David Bates said.
“It's beneficial for the company because it develops a culture where the employees are working safely and they take pride in the workplace they have,” he said. “It helps us because we not only do cooperative programs like this, but I manage all the enforcement activity we do in the state. We've done 20 fatal accident investigations in the state this year. The more companies we have taking care of their own safety and health issues, the less we have to do on the enforcement side.”