Schick Manufacturing's Milford, Conn., manufacturing plant has earned entry into the prestigious Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) of the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The VPP recognizes companies committed to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards.

The plant, which employs 470 workers, plus 205 temporary workers supervised by Schick, manufactures shaving products. In achieving "Merit" status, it joins an elite corps of about 1,400 workplaces nationwide that have earned VPP recognition.

The "Merit" designation comes after an OSHA team's thorough on-site review of the plant's application and its safety and health programs, interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite.

"Our review of this plant's safety and health management programs found them consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants while its injury and illness rates are below the industry average," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "The plant now has the opportunity to go further and seek "Star" status, the VPP's highest designation."

OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs recognize worksites where comprehensive safety and health programs have been incorporated successfully into their management systems. VPP companies achieve average injury rates 50 percent lower than other companies in their industry. The VPP programs are open to deserving employers in any industry.

Requirements for application to VPP 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.