Timber Products: Achieving VPP recertification with BLR

About Timber Products Company

Timber Products, originally known as the Tomlin Box Company, was founded in 1918 and specialized in manufacturing wooden boxes to hold agricultural products. Today, Timber Products has 8 manufacturing facilities, employs over 1,200 people, and is one of the nation’s largest suppliers of wood products to the cabinet, furniture, store fixture, and architectural millwork industries. The company is committed to environmental sustainability and providing high-quality products to its customers.


Timber Products came to BLR® looking for a way to efficiently track audits that would ultimately help them maintain their Voluntary Protection Program certification through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and found that BLR’s comprehensive EHS management solution, EHS Hero®, met their needs.

While OSHA holds companies accountable for following safety laws, a VPP-certified site adheres to even higher standards. OSHA looks for best practices that make a company a safety champion in its industry. With EHS Hero’s Audits and Inspections tool, Timber Products was able to maintain this certification after a 2016 audit.


Using the Audits and Inspections tool, safety coordinator David Hanson developed a strategy for auditing the plant one-third at a time, which included identifying regular items to monitor and areas needing improvement. Progress could be tracked in monthly audits that would give the safety committee a clear idea of what needed to be addressed.

With the safety committee in the early stages of existence, it could also be used as a way to train members to know what to look for. The monthly audits in the audit tool helped Hanson and the safety committee track:

  • How long a problem had existed
  • Progress on resolution
  • Need for additional corrective actions

The Audits and Inspections tool also helped Hanson create a centralized database for audit-related documentation. Documents could be printed if necessary, and notes could be attached. The tool’s integration with EHS Hero’s CAPA tool made it so that when there was an issue, actions could be quickly assigned to the employee or multiple employees responsible for finding a solution.

Additionally, modifications could be made when needed. If a new problem area was identified, it could be added to the monthly audit to track progress made in resolving it, and other employees not on the safety committee could be added to the audits to help them understand what workplace conditions were expected and to prepare them for audit passage.


Five auditors from Oregon OSHA came to Timber Products for a week. They conducted a thorough audit of the company, and, because it was so extensive, Timber Products granted the auditors access to the Audits and Inspections tool. The auditors were able to easily identify areas for improvement, which they included in their recommendations.

The OSHA auditors provided 53 recommendations, and Timber Products was able to carry out 51 of them, which was more than enough to maintain its VPP certification. Hanson was able to build an audit in the Audits and Inspections tool just for preparing the site for the VPP audit. This helped to organize and track the recommendations.

“[In the OSHA VPP inspection] they really leave no stone left unturned. It’s quite a process. I’m convinced that the audit tool and many other tools in [EHS Hero] helped with that.”

—David Hanson, Safety Coordinator

Moving Forward

EHS Hero’s comprehensive audit management software makes it easy for employees, even outside the safety committee, to complete an audit. The ability to add pictures enhances the examination of incidents, and audit processes are automated so that what used to take days now only takes a few hours. Timber Product’s safety committee can see how often the various areas and assets are inspected, including hydraulic jacks, ladders, chains, slings, and more.

Users at Timber Products can even track who’s completing each inspection, making it easy for the corporate safety director or plant manager to go directly to the source. This provides a higher level of transparency, streamlines communication, and ensures employees are held accountable for completing corrective and preventive actions.

Access a downloadable version of Timber Products’ story here.