The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on June 14 recognized pharmaceutical manufacturer Sandoz Inc. of Broomfield, Colo., as a "Merit" site in its Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) during a ceremony at the company's plant.

VPP Merit sites maintain employee safety and health programs that far exceed minimum OSHA standards. OSHA's Denver-based regional administrator, Greg Baxter, and regional VPP manager, Brad Baptiste, presented a VPP flag and plaque to the Sandoz team at the ceremony.

"Sandoz's acceptance into OSHA's VPP is evidence of the company's long-term commitment to world-class safety and health excellence," said Baxter. "This tremendous accomplishment represents meaningful employee involvement and a dedicated management team."

Pointing out that Sandoz's safety and health program exhibits some "best practices," Baptiste said, "One of the driving forces behind this company's incredible program quality is the extensive communication system in place. Employees have multiple avenues, such as ‘Stop Light' programs, postcards and safety mailings, and computer-based systems to report and learn about safety and health related matters."

The VPP offers employers a unique opportunity to move beyond traditional safety programs by recognizing participants that successfully incorporate comprehensive safety and health programs into their total management systems. The VPP program is open to deserving employers in any industry.

Requirements for application to the VPP, which has more than 1,700 worksites nationwide, include a high degree of management support and employee involvement, a high-quality worksite hazard analysis, hazard 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 site may apply to join the program.