The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) welcomed the ExxonMobil Process Research Laboratories in Baton Rouge, La., into the prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) at the "Star," or highest, level. A recognition ceremony was held April 11 at the company's facility at 4045 Scenic Highway.

"ExxonMobil Process Laboratories 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 73 percent below the national average for the industry."

ExxonMobil Process Research Laboratories employees are engaged in the development of advanced refining methods for the production of petroleum products by improving processing techniques and catalyst technologies. The facility has 142 ExxonMobil and 35 contract employees at the site who are involved in research and development or maintenance activities.

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