WHITE HALL - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has approved the Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility's application for Star Status in the Voluntary Protection Programs.

OSHA's VPP Star Status is one of the nation's highest honors for worker safety. The recognition comes after a team from OSHA reviewed safety processes and procedures and interviewed employees at PBCDF regarding safe work habits. The team made the unanimous recommendation for Star Status due to PBCDF's tremendous performance and commitment to safety and health.

Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke said, "Designation as a VPP Star participant is a testament to sustained excellence in all areas of your safety and health management system... On behalf of OSHA, I extend my thanks to you and your employees' for your commitment, hard work, and dedication to the principles embodied in VPP. I look forward to hearing about your continuing safety and health efforts and success."

The VPP is OSHA's tool for promoting excellence in safety through management leadership and the direct involvement of the workers. The program sets performance based criteria for a managed safety and health system, and then assesses applicants against those criteria. Approval of VPP status is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.

"This is definitely an honor. It confirms that, our employees take safety seriously and we have a safety culture in which our employees take great pride," said David Reber, Washington Group project general manager. "This is another landmark day. The employees at PBCDF have earned this honor."

"This is yet another positive indication of the employees' commitment to safety," said Mark Greer, PBCDF site project manager.

PBCDF joins its sister sites of Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility and Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility as having the distinction of VPP Star Status.