OSHA VPP: Clow Valve (Foundry)

Clow Valve FoundryIn our ongoing series of posts highlighting companies that have taken extra steps to satisfy Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety requirements in their Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), a cooperative program that recognizes employers and employees who proactively prevent worksite injuries and illnesses, here we look at Clow Valve, a subsidiary of McWane, Inc.

Since 1926, Clow Valve has been recognized as one of the country’s leading and most experienced manufacturers of ductile iron pipe. The company’s machine shop and metal casting facility in Oskaloosa, Iowa, manufactures fire hydrants and water valves. The metal casting facility produces gray iron, ductile iron and brass castings for valves and hydrants.

Even after decades of safety efforts – including written safety programs, training, machine guards, lockout/tagout programs and more – Clow Valve was experiencing incident rates above the national average for its industry. In 2005, the company overhauled its safety programs to incorporate core VPP elements. In 2007, Iowa OSHA’s VPP team conducted a nine-day VPP onsite audit, and Clow Valve’s metal casting facility achieved VPP Merit status.

Clow Valve’s work with on-site consultation and participation in the Iowa VPP resulted in improved workplace safety, health performance and other benefits. For instance, the metal casting facility reduced its incident rates to below the industry’s national average, and employee turnover rates fell from 89 percent in 2000 to 13 percent in 2010.

Today, commitment to safety and health is part of the company’s culture, with employees engaged and taking ownership of safety. Clow Valve is now an advocate of OSHA cooperative programs, such as VPP, and mentors other facilities seeking to enter the VPP process.

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