OSHA 'Star' status awarded to chemical firm

The Kerr-McGee Chemical company in Oklahoma City is the latest employer to start flying an OSHA Star flag over its work site. The flag signifies that the federal agency has certified the workplace as one of the safest in the nation.

Star status is the highest level of recognition under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program. The program is a cooperative effort between labor, management, and OSHA, in which facilities with injury rates below the national average are recognized for their achievement and exempted from some routine OSHA inspections. About 450 work sites have been granted Star status, though 6.5 million are eligible for the program.

To participate in the Star program, OSHA requires workplaces to be especially dedicated to employee protection, as evidenced by three-year incidence and lost work day rates that are at or below national averages for their industries. They also must meet some requirements for extensive management systems. Construction firms must maintain strong employee participation in their programs because of the changing nature of their programs.

Once they obtain Star status, participants are evaluated every three years, but their incident rates are evaluated annually. Other levels of participation also are available in the Voluntary Protection Program. For more information or applications, contact OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs, Room N3700, Frances Perkins DOL Building, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 523-7266. World Wide Web: http://www.osha.gov.