At a public ceremony on April 9 presided by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. and Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, L'Oréal USA's Florence Manufacturing facility in Florence, Ky., received "Star" status under the prestigious Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) administered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

VPP Status is awarded to companies with exemplary worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health management systems that exceed government standards. L'Oréal USA's Florence manufacturing facility is the company's final one to receive a VPP designation, meaning that L'Oréal USA has now achieved VPP compliance in all six of its U.S. manufacturing facilities.

"We put the health and safety of our employees first, and have achieved VPP compliance in all of our manufacturing facilities with their active collaboration," says Vince Serpico, senior vice president for corporate manufacturing, L'Oréal USA. "The certification of our Florence, Ky., facility is a further demonstration of our rigorous commitment to maintaining safe and productive work environments for our employees, our plants, and the communities in which we have facilities."

L'Oréal USA's Florence facility joins an elite corps of more than 1,600 worksites nationwide that have earned VPP status. Companies who receive VPP status are considered "role models" in their industry and have attained 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.

Foulke said, "L'Oréal is clearly committed to protecting the safety and health of its employees and, with recognition of today's achievement, the company has set an extraordinary standard for other U.S. manufacturers. L'Oréal's investment in employee safety and health was the right thing to do, and I am certain it will provide great benefits in morale, productivity and competitiveness."

"I congratulate the management team and the staff of L'Oréal USA for their diligence in making their facility a safe one," said Governor Fletcher. "Extraordinary performance comes from site-specific safety and health programs that are provided by the employer and embraced by the employees. L’Oréal USA is commended for their commitment to workplace safety at each of their U.S. plants."

The VPP award reinforces L'Oréal USA's commitment to outstanding safety and health standards. In 2003, L'Oréal pledged to earn VPP Star status for all its U.S. manufacturing facilities by 2008. Five of its six U.S. facilities now have VPP Star status, and one has VPP Merit status. Being a recognized VPP participant is especially beneficial for L'Oréal USA's valued employees and could not have been achieved without their participation. VPP status motivates employees, helps decrease worker’s compensation claims and reduces lost days due to on-the-job injuries. Over the past six years, compliance with the VPP program has helped L'Oréal USA reduce its rates of lost time and restricted duty accidents by more than 70 percent.