The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on May 30 certified Pittsburgh-headquartered Mine Safety Appliances' (MSA) facility in Cranberry at the "Star," or highest level, in its prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). During a ceremony at the facility, Robert Szymanski, director of OSHA's Pittsburgh Area Office, presented a VPP Star flag.

"Safety and health is a high priority to MSA management and employees," said Szymanski. "The company has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to employee safety and health, and has maintained an injury and illness rate 51 percent below the industry average."

MSA manufactures and supplies safety products to protect users against hazardous or life-threatening situations, such as self-contained breathing apparatus accessories, military integrated communication headsets and custom application systems. The Cranberry facility has 458 employees.

Designed for worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health programs, the VPP is open to all industries and to employers with injury rates below their respective industries' national averages.

More than 1,950 worksites nationwide have earned entry into OSHA's VPP. Over the years, the VPP has proven to be an effective means of reducing injuries, illnesses, fatalities and costs, while fostering a more productive workforce and increasing employee morale.

OSHA has improved workplace safety and health over the past 37 years. This success is reflected in the latest data (2006) showing the lowest national injury and illness incidence rate that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has ever recorded. OSHA will continue to work diligently to focus its resources where they will have the most impact in assuring that every working man and woman returns home safely every day.