Facility earns VPP Star despite tragedy

From left, Clerk Susi Alexander, Custodian Page Byars, Custodian Harry English, Clerk Brian Glenn, Plant Manager John Byars and Pacific Area Vice President Michael Daley raise their VPP Star flag.A horrific event failed to stop the Santa Barbara Processing and Distribution Center (PDC) from becoming the latest postal facility to earn the Occupa­tional Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Pro­tection Programs (VPP) Star status — safety’s most coveted award.

It was about one year ago when a former postal worker killed six employees at the worksite.

One of the victims, Training Technician Charlotte Colton, was instrumental in developing the facility’s VPP process.

“We asked ourselves, do we want to go forward with the VPP process? It was a tough decision. But we decided we were not going to let what happened defeat us. Working as a team, the employees, unions and management came together and succeeded — and it’s what Charlotte would want,” Santa Barbara PDC Manager John Byars said.

Their VPP Star flag-acceptance ceremony honored one more accomplishment. Colton was posthumously awarded the Pacific Area’s National Diversity Achievement Award, presented to Colton’s parents and sister.