The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recognized the management and employees of Firestone Building Products in Aurora, Colo., for achievement in the company's employee safety and health program.

Bob Glover, OSHA's assistant regional administrator in Denver, presented a Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) flag and plaque to the Firestone Building Products team during a recent ceremony at the company. OSHA designated the site, which manufactures foam roofing insulation, as a VPP "Star," the program's highest level of recognition. A "Star" site meets or exceeds all the safety and health program elements for the VPP, which far exceed minimum OSHA standards.

Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver, said, "Designation as an OSHA VPP Star can only be achieved at sites where employees and managers work together with a particular focus on workplace safety and health excellence."

Some noteworthy aspects of Firestone's program that OSHA observed included a highly evolved air and noise monitoring program as well as a significant number of automated processes that reduce or eliminate employee exposures to repetitive motion and heavy lifting.

Glover added, "The employees at the plant have identified workplace hazards and developed methods to eliminate those hazards."

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 is open to deserving employers in any industry.

Requirements for application to the VPP, which currently boasts more than 1,800 sites in the country, 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 and in operation for at least one year before an employer may apply to join the program.