The DuPont Pontchartrain Chemical Solutions Enterprise in LaPlace, La., has earned membership in the prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the "Star," or highest, level.

Dorinda Folse, OSHA's Baton Rouge, La., area director, and Bruce Stark, the VPP coordinator in OSHA's Baton Rouge, La., area office, attended a recent recognition ceremony at the company's facility.

"This DuPont Pontchartrain location has demonstrated excellence in safety and health management," said OSHA regional administrator Dean W. McDaniel in Dallas. "Its outstanding efforts include maintaining an injury and illness rate that is 70 percent below the national average for the industry."

DuPont Pontchartrain Chemical Solutions Enterprise operates chemical processes that produce three different products called aromatic amines. The substances are used to make Kevlar fibers in industrial dyes, as an antioxidant, and for the hardening of paint and other surface coatings. The company has about 140 employees and 120 contractors who operate, maintain and repair plant facilities and equipment.

More than 1,945 worksites nationwide have earned entry into OSHA's VPP. Requirements include a high degree of management support and employee involvement; a high-quality worksite hazard analysis; prevention and control programs; and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective, in place and in operation for at least one year before a company can apply to join the VPP. Companies in the VPP achieve average injury rates 50 percent lower than other companies in their respective industries.