Duro-Last Oregon Plant Receives Safety Certification

Duro-Last Inc. has announced a local award and national safety certification received by its Grants Pass, Ore., manufacturing facility.

In late January 2017, Duro-Last received the 2016 Business Excellence Award from the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Organization (OSHA) presented the Oregon facility with the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site certification in November 2016.

According to Colene Martin, president/CEO of the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce, “The Business Excellence Award is given to a chamber member who has a record of dependability, success and leadership. The criteria for selection include business character, business excellence, customer relations and community service. Duro-Last not only excels in these areas but also is known for their employee safety standards and the number of awards they have received for it over the years.”

The most recent safety award for the Duro-Last facility is OSHA’s VPP Star Site certification, which is the highest of three designations offered by the VPP.

The VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health, according to OSHA. This is for OSHA’s official recognition of efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. The goal is to encourage private industry and federal agencies to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training and cooperation between management and workers. The VPP enlists worker involvement to achieve injury and illness rates that are below the National Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries.

Oregon OSHA Director Michael Wood presented the award at the Grants Pass facility.

“We are proud of the work we have done with OSHA, which has allowed us to learn the best practices of other VPP companies and has helped us understand the importance of continuous improvement in safety programs,” says Tim Hart, vice president of Western Operations for Duro-Last Inc. “We thank Oregon OSHA for recognizing the dedication our Grants Pass employees have to safety. Without our employees’ safety mindset, this recognition would not have been possible. We would also like to thank the Oregon VPP team for their encouragement and mentoring.”

This OSHA honor is not a one-time award, however. Retaining VPP Star Site status is an ongoing process, and continuous improvement is expected.

“Duro-Last was the first company in Oregon OSHA history to be awarded the VPP Star level on the first try. This is a milestone,” says Hart. “Usually a company gets the Merit status first, and then needs several more years to complete the application process for Star status. Our team decided to apply for the Star status directly. Our efforts took a little under two years because we had the cooperation and enthusiasm of the entire Duro-Last team.”

The Grants Pass facility will serve as a mentor to other organizations applying for OSHA VPP status. In 2016, Duro-Last was appointed to the Governor’s Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Panel. A graduate of OSHA’s Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), Duro-Last is part of the Southern Oregon SHARP Alliance. Duro-Last also belongs to the Redwood Safety Committee, Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. (SOREDI), and the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce.

“Since the first Duro-Last roof was installed in the 1970s, the company has been on a growth path,” says Hart. “In 1985, Duro-Last expanded into Grants Pass, Ore. In 1987, we purchased 47,000-square-feet of manufacturing and 7,500-square-feet of office space at the North Valley Industrial Park. In 1996, we completed and opened a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. We expanded again in 2006, adding 35,000 more square feet of manufacturing space to accommodate EXCEPTIONAL Metals, a division of Duro-Last. Throughout it all, we’ve remained committed to safety, to quality and to being good neighbors to our communities.”

Court Ruling Allows Continued Development of Public Health and Safety Standards

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Hon. Tanya S. Chutkan) has issued a ruling that will support federal, state and local governments’ efforts to support public health and safety through the use of voluntary consensus codes and standards. The court granted a motion for summary judgment filed by a number of standard development organizations (SDOs), including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ASTM International and ASHRAE. The court’s ruling permanently enjoins Public.Resource.org from its previous systematic infringement of numerous SDO copyrighted codes and standards. The ruling vindicates the longstanding public-private partnership pursuant to which government entities may, if they choose, incorporate by reference high quality safety codes and standards.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision, which recognizes the importance of a time-tested process that serves governments and individuals well and is vital to public health and safety,” says Jim Pauley, president of NFPA.

The history of not-for-profit SDOs developing voluntary consensus standards goes back more than a century. Governments, businesses, and individuals across the country rely on a variety of works, from product specifications and installation methods to safety codes and standards.  SDOs, not governmental agencies, underwrite the costs of developing standards.
 
“The court’s ruling means federal, state and local agencies can continue to rely on not-for-profit SDOs to develop voluntary consensus standards at a high level of excellence and at minimal cost to government,” says Kathie Morgan, president, ASTM International.

SDOs pay for the standard development process and invest in new standards with the money earned selling and licensing their copyrighted works.  This model allows SDOs to remain independent of special interests and to develop up-to-date standards.  It also allows the U.S. government, and governments at all levels, the freedom to decide whether to incorporate these standards by reference without a drain on their resources.
 
“We and many other SDOs already provide free online access to many standards as part of our commitment to safety,” says Timothy G. Wentz, ASHRAE president. “And, preventing the infringement of copyrighted material will allow not-for-profit SDOs to continue meeting the needs of the people and jurisdictions we serve.”
 
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Tiny House Appendix Will Be Included In 2018 IRC

The International Code Council (ICC) reported that public comment RB168-16, the tiny house appendix, has passed the final round of voting, receiving the required 2/3 majority vote. As a result, a tiny house specific appendix will be part of the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC), allowing people to receive a Certificate of Occupancy (COO) for their tiny house when built to meet the provisions of the adopted code appendix. A lack of recognition of tiny houses in the IRC had been a hindrance to the creation of legal tiny houses in communities across the U.S.

The approval of RB168-16 is a culmination of the efforts of Andrew Morrison (www.TinyHouseBuild.com) and a team of architects, builders, designers, and educators. The team initially defended the proposed appendix at the ICC public comment hearings this fall at which time they received the first 2/3 majority vote necessary to place RB168-16 on the official ballot.

Tiny houses have gained popularity in the last few years as a result of historically high housing costs, flat lined wages, and a grassroots movement towards minimalism. A tiny house specific code helps not only those wanting to build tiny but also local building officials overwhelmed with applications for tiny house projects.

“RB168-16 brings much needed safety standards to tiny house construction,” says BA Norrgard, volunteer coordinator at Habitat for Humanity and founding member of the Tiny House Collaborative. “This is a breakthrough that holds potential for positive change in the housing sector, which is in crisis.”

The approval of RB168-16 is historic; however, each jurisdiction currently enforcing the IRC must now adopt the appendix for it to become law. That is the next step for the tiny house appendix and one that Morrison’s team intends to meet head on.

Morrison, a builder for over 20 years who leads tiny house workshops and has taught over 2,500 students to date says, “We have a group of enthusiastic people in the tiny house community and we will work together to continue the positive movement forward for the industry.”