The Columbus, Ind., plant of AK Tube LLC, a subsidiary of AK Steel, has been approved for participation as a "Star" site in the Indiana Department of Labor's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). 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.

"Your designation as a VPP site is a testament to sustained excellence in all areas of your safety and health management system," said Miguel R. Rivera Sr., Indiana commissioner of labor, in notifying the plant of the honor.

The Columbus plant is the third AK Steel facility selected to participate in the VPP program, two of which are located in the state of Indiana. In 2001, AK Steel's Butler (Pa.) Works became the first steel plant in the nation to receive the VPP Star. The company's Rockport (Ind.) Works was awarded the VPP Star in 2002, and last week, received its recertification award from the Indiana Department of Labor.

"Congratulations to AK Tube's Columbus employees on this outstanding safety achievement," said James L. Wainscott, chairman, president & CEO of AK Steel. "AK Steel has no higher priority than employee safety, and we are proud that Columbus employees are being recognized for their dedication to placing safety first each working day."

AK Tube LLC, with facilities in Columbus, Indiana and Walbridge, Ohio manufactures electric resistance welded (ERW) carbon and stainless steel tubing for a variety of applications, primarily in the automotive and truck exhaust markets.