Mass. plant partners with safety studies students

Toymaker offers on-the-job experience through Keene State program


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Some of the Keene State College safety studies students who participated in the school’s partnership with Cartamundi’s plant in East Longmeadow, Mass., shown in front of the facility. They are, from left: Steven Biederman, Zach Tulley, Emily Meece, Mark Razzaboni and Trevor Seaton.

Photo by Mark Razzaboni

A couple of years ago, Jack Popp, vice president of technical services at Cartamundi’s East Longmeadow, Mass., manufacturing facility, attended an open house celebrating the anniversary of Keene State College’s Safety and Occupational Health Applied Science Program. He realized that the company’s vertically integrated factory with nine core processes could support safety-student experiences and offered to work with students and provide them on-the-job experience through their capstone course. 

The plant was acquired in 2015 from the toymaker Hasbro, which “has been recognized by OSHA as a corporate safety leader though their VPP program,” said David May, associate professor of safety and occupational health applied sciences at Keene State. “The capstone experience was a great opportunity for our students to witness how a top-notch company operates its safety and health program.”

The teams completed two projects at the East Longmeadow facility. They’ve conducted a noise survey and a machine-guarding survey, giving the students a chance “to experience what an OSHA VPP STAR facility and world-class manufacturing environment focused on operational excellence is,” said Popp. “The project work completed by the capstone students enabled our facility, in our interest of continuous improvement, to use ‘a different set of eyes’ than our own, and allowed us to forego hiring an external consultant for the noise monitoring.”

Popp also praised the Keene State students’ professional and courteous interaction, and definitely left the door wide open for further collaboration.

“Based on our very positive experiences to date with David May and the Keene State capstone projects, our Cartamundi East Longmeadow senior management team would absolutely support partnering with the Keene State College program again. It was a win-win, value-added initiative for both organizations.” 

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