Park-Ohio Industries, Inc., a subsidiary of Park-Ohio Holdings Corp., announced that its General Aluminum Wapakoneta, Ohio, manufacturing facility has become the only aluminum foundry in the country to be recognized by a prestigious federal program that promotes effective worksite-based safety and health.

General Aluminum recently earned "Star" status, the top honor in the Voluntary Protection Programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Wapakoneta facility employs 147 and manufactures safety-critical parts for the automotive industry.

"This distinction is the result of a multi-year effort between the employees and management who have worked together to develop and implement systems that enable them to readily identify problems and correct them," said Edward F. Crawford, chairman and chief executive officer of Park-Ohio. "They worked hard to demonstrate to OSHA how these systems contribute to a safe workplace environment."

According to OSHA, VPP sets performance-based criteria for a managed safety and health system, invites sites to apply, and then assesses applicants against these criteria. OSHA's verification includes an application review and a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts.

"Our people are justifiably proud of this achievement, which is particularly noteworthy because the health and safety initiative withstood the distractions of a difficult economic period and a change of ownership," Crawford said.

Park-Ohio acquired the Wapakoneta facility in 2004. General Aluminum is part of the company's Aluminum Group, which also includes operations in Conneaut, Ohio; Huntington, Fremont and Richmond, Ind.; and Cedarburg, Wis.