The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognized Hunter Douglas Window Fashions for continued exemplary achievement in its workplace safety and health program May 1 at the company's plant in Broomfield, Colo.

Under its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), OSHA presented the window blind manufacturing plant with its highest award, the VPP Star, for the second time.

"This VPP Star award recognizes Hunter Douglas's efforts to maintain a sustained level of high performance in its employee safety and health program," said Greg Baxter, OSHA regional administrator in Denver. "Receiving the award is a tremendous accomplishment by itself, but receiving it the second time illustrates this company's commitment to continual improvement and its dedication to excellence."

A VPP Star site maintains employee injury and illness rates below the national average for its industry and meets all the safety and health program elements for the VPP program, which far exceed minimum OSHA standards.

Brad Baptiste, OSHA VPP manager in Denver, presented the VPP award to plant representatives at the ceremony. Hunter Douglas's safety and health program has many aspects considered "best practices," he said. "The site has tremendous employee involvement systems, excellent pre-task planning procedures and an extremely thorough energy control program to protect employees."

VPP offers employers a unique opportunity to move beyond traditional safety programs by recognizing participants that successfully incorporate world-class, comprehensive safety and health management systems. The program is open to deserving employers in any industry.

Requirements for application to the VPP, which has approximately 1,450 sites in the country, include demonstrating a high degree of management support and employee involvement, a high-quality worksite hazard analysis, effective hazard prevention and control programs, and a comprehensive safety and health training program for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective and in operation for at least one year before applying to join the program.