Skip to main content

Facilities Management team excels in statewide safety program

June 7, 2023

West Grounds Zone completes third stage of Voluntary Protection Programs Challenge Program

West Grounds Zone Maintenance team enjoys a lunch celebration
The West Grounds Zone Maintenance team enjoys a lunch celebration marking their completion of a statewide safety program.

The UVA Facilities Management West Grounds Zone team, their leadership, and the FM Occupational Health and Safety team are celebrating West Grounds Zone's completion of Stage III of the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Challenge Program.

The Challenge Program is a three-stage guide and assessment for workplaces to be among the safest and healthiest in the country. The program is administered and evaluated by the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program within the commonwealth's Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) and consists of the following stages:

  • Stage I - Assess, Learn, and Develop: Introduces participants to the basic VPP elements that are necessary to develop and implement an effective safety and health management system.
  • Stage II - Implement, Track, and Control: Recognizes worksites that have passed Stage I and are implementing more thorough safety and health management system processes.
  • Stage III - Reassess, Monitor, and Continuously Improve: Sites are reassessing and continuously improving the safety and health management system (SHMS). Stage III sites are eligible to apply for Virginia STAR.

The Facilities Management West Grounds Zone team applied in May 2019 to the Challenge Program and accomplished Stages I and II in March 2020 and May 2021, respectively. Their completion of the third stage in March 2023 marks their development of an exemplary safety and health management system (SMHS) and sets them up them to apply for VPP STAR recognition — a program in which participating companies operate programs that exceed the requirements for a Virginia Occupational Safety and Health-compliant and OSHA-compliant safety and health program.

Gary G. Pan with Laura Duckworth, Kenny Bower and Shelomith Gonzalez
Virginia Department of Labor & Industry Commissioner Gary G. Pan (far right) congratulates FM team members who supported the achievement, Director of Occupational Programs Laura Duckworth, West Grounds Zone Manager Kenny Bower and Occupational Health and Safety Manager Shelomith Gonzalez.

“The Occupational Health & Safety team is so proud of the work that the West Grounds Zone team has done to achieve all three stages of Challenge Program and establish a safety and health management system,” said Occupational Health & Safety Manager Shelomith Gonzalez. “We hope that this experience can serve as a model for other Facilities Management groups on Grounds, as well as other public sector facilities groups. OHS would also like to recognize FM leadership and VOSH staff for their support and guidance in this effort.”

The UVA FM West Grounds Zone team is the first higher education institution in Virginia and only the second in the public sector to achieve the completion of VPP Challenge Stage III. Virginia DOLI Commissioner Gary G. Pan recognized their achievement with a letter, commending their efforts and collaboration with the UVA FM OHS team.

About the author

Liz Burnett
Occupational Programs Communications Generalist Senior
UVA Facilities Management