The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) welcomed the Placid Refining Company in Port Allen, La., into the prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) at the "Star," or highest, level. A recognition ceremony was held March 28 at the company's facility on Highway 1 North.

"Placid Refining has demonstrated excellence in effective safety and health management," said OSHA acting regional administrator Frank Strasheim in Dallas. "The company's outstanding efforts include achieving an injury and illness rate that is 87 percent below the national average for the industry."

Placid Refining produces transportation fuels that are distributed from Louisiana to North Carolina. The facility has 191 employees and 128 contract employees who are involved in producing petroleum products and maintenance activities.

More than 1,600 worksites in more than 270 industries nationwide have earned entry into OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs. 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.