Schick Manufacturing's Milford, Conn., plant has earned "Star" status in the prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The VPP recognizes companies committed to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards.

The plant, which employs 470 employees, plus 205 temporary employees supervised by Schick, manufactures shaving products. It is one of 1,600 workplaces in 270 industries nationwide that have earned VPP status.

The Milford plant first entered the VPP as a "Merit" site in 2005. Its graduation to "Star" status comes after an OSHA team's thorough on-site review of the plant's application and its safety and health programs, interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite.

"The 'Star' designation reflects the mutual commitment of Schick employees and management to maintaining and improving safety and health at this plant," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator for New England. "Our review of this plant's safety and health management programs found them consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants, with injury and illness rates below the industry average."

Beyond being a role model for safety and health in their respective industries, VPP companies generally experience many other positive benefits such as fewer lost workday injuries, injury and illness rates below average for their industries and reduced workers' compensation costs. The VPP programs are open to deserving employers in any industry.

Requirements for application to VPP 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.