A Northampton, Mass., Coca-Cola beverage plant has earned a "star" status from OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program. The company was recognized on Friday for its commitment to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards, and encourageing cooperative relationships among labor, management and government.

"Coca-Cola and its employees here in Northampton are to be congratulated on this milestone," says Region 2 administrator Marthe Kent in an OSHA release. "Their proactive commitment to workplace safety and health has resulted in injury and illness rates far below the industry average."

The Northampton plant, which packages juices and other noncarbonated beverages, has 170 employees. According to an agency release, the sta" designation followed an OSHA team's week-long onsite review that found the facility's safety and health management systems consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants. The plant joins more than 1,957 worksites in 270 industries nationwide, including 32 sites in Massachusetts, that have earned entry into the VPP.