AK Steel's Rockport, Ind., Works has been recertified for the "Star" safety designation through the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) of the Indiana Department of Labor. The VPP Star designation signifies that the plant's employee safety programs go above and beyond Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, and reflects a cooperative relationship between management, employees and OSHA.

The award was presented Wednesday by Tim Grogg, special assistant commissioner-IOSHA for the Indiana Department of Labor, during a ceremony held at the plant. The ceremony was attended by Rockport Works management members, officers of United Auto Workers Local 3044, representing hourly employees at the plant, and other officials from the Indiana Department of Labor.

"Safety is always our first and highest priority at AK Steel," said James L. Wainscott, chairman, president & CEO of AK Steel. "We congratulate our Rockport employees for their outstanding commitment to safety which has earned re-certification for the prestigious VPP Star."

Rockport Works was originally certified under the VPP Star program in 2002. The plant received runner-up honors last year in the U.S. Senate Productivity Awards competition, sponsored by Senator Richard G. Lugar, the Indiana Manufacturers Association and the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, which recognized the plant for its zero OSHA recordable injury record for the 2004 year, in addition to environmental and productivity gains.

Rockport Works has also received the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Safety Award, ISO 14001 Environmental Management System certification, ISO/TS 16949 Quality Management System certification, the North American Maintenance Excellence Award, Ford Q1 certification and various other quality awards.

Headquartered in Middletown, Ohio, AK Steel produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, as well as carbon and stainless tubular steel products, for automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets.