NIOSH Ceremony Highlights Award Under OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs
Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
April 12, 2006
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) hosted a ceremony today that honored the awarding of “Star” status to NIOSH’s Morgantown, W.Va., facility under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Programs.
Approval into the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. To obtain “Star” status, OSHA requires worksites to have successful ongoing safety and health management systems, cooperation between labor and management, and work-related injury and illness rates at or below the average rate for their respective industries.
The ceremony was held at the Morgantown facility, where NIOSH conducts research on the prevention of work-related injuries and respiratory diseases, as well as advanced laboratory research on the health effects of work-related exposures.
“As the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations to reduce the risk of occupational injuries and illnesses, NIOSH has an obligation not only to ‘talk the talk’ but also to ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to workplace safety,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.
“Special thanks and congratulations go to the safety and management operations staff at NIOSH’s Morgantown facility for coordinating the extensive preparations and hard work required to reach this level of success in a relatively short period of time,” Dr. Howard said. “Special thanks and congratulations also go to each of the Morgantown employees who contributed time and effort into the preparations for the site evaluation, and who provided the necessary employee involvement required to receive this designation.”
The Morgantown facility was awarded the “Star” status after OSHA and other VPP representatives conducted a thorough site visit consisting of program audits, records inspections, facility walkthroughs, and 208 formal and informal interviews with employees. The cooperative efforts of Morgantown’s dedicated safety office staff and several employee representatives were recognized by the audit team. Additional items that particularly impressed the audit team were the facility’s safety and health committee, the safety training and recordkeeping programs, and the completeness of the site’s employee fitness programs. Over the last three years, the site’s Total Case Incidence Rate (TCIR) has decreased from 2.6 to 0.6. This reflects a 77 percent drop in injuries and illnesses.