Osram Sylvania Inc.'s plant in Hillsborough, N.H., has been recertified for an additional five-year membership in the prestigious "Star" Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) of the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

"Employees and management at the Hillsborough plant are to be congratulated," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "Their ongoing and effective commitment to minimizing hazards and maximizing safety and health has resulted in injury and illness rates that are well below the industry average."

The Hillsborough facility – which has 687 employees engaged in the manufacture of lamps and lighting devices for the automotive, aircraft, electronic, telecommunication and computer industries – first achieved VPP "Star" status in July 2004. Its renewal came after an OSHA team's on-site review, interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite, which found its safety and health programs consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants.

The VPP recognizes worksites that are committed to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards and encourages cooperative relationships between labor, management, unions and government.

Through the VPP, employers and employees have experienced significant decreases in fatalities, injuries and illnesses; associated cost reductions including lowered workers' compensation expenses; positive changes in company culture and attitudes toward safety and health; and average injury rates 50 percent lower than other companies in their industry.

The Hillsborough plant is one of more than 1,770 worksites in 270 industries nationwide that have earned entry into the VPP, including 12 sites in New Hampshire. The VPP is open to deserving employers in any industry.