Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. December 6 welcomed General Electric Company's (GE) corporate headquarters in Fairfield, Conn., into the prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

"It's fitting that we recognize GE's accomplishment here at its headquarters, given its corporate-wide commitment to safety and health," said Foulke, who presented company officials and employees with the VPP flag and plaque at a ceremony held on December 6. "With more than 100 of its worksites nationwide participating in the VPP – more than any other company – and the promise of many more to come, GE is a prime example of an employer that understands the value and importance of safety and health."

The Fairfield headquarters, which employs 858 people, was certified as a VPP "Star" site following an
OSHA team's on-site review, which found the site's safety and health programs consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants, and its injury and illness rates well below average. This worksite now joins more than 1,860 others, including 111 GE facilities across the nation, that have earned membership in the VPP.

OSHA New England regional administrator Marthe Kent said: "The VPP provides an opportunity for companies to develop and maintain effective employee protections beyond the requirements of
OSHA standards. Participating worksites have experienced significant decreases in injuries and illnesses, lower workers' compensation expenses, and a positive commitment toward safety and health at all levels."

The VPP is open to deserving employers in any industry and requires strong management support and employee involvement, a high-quality worksite hazard analysis, prevention and control programs, and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Additional information is available at www.osha.gov/dcsp/vpp/index.html.