Not all OSHA inspections result in citations and fines. An oil refinery in North Dakota and a paper company in Missouri are being praised by the agency for their exemplary safety and health programs.

Tesoro Petroleum refinery in Mandan, N.D. and Avery Dennison-Riverside Distribution Center in Riverside, Mo have both been awarded “star” site status – the highest level of recognition offered by OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs.

A VPP star site maintains employee injury and illness rates below the national average for its industry and meets stringent safety and health program elements that far exceed regular OSHA standards.

Referring to the Tesoro Mandan refinery, Greg Baxter, OSHA’s regional administrator in Denver, Colo., said: "The employees, their union and the company have analyzed workplace hazards, trained employees and contractors to prevent hazards, and held themselves to a high standard of performance."

Mike Maslowski, an OSHA compliance assistance specialist in Bismarck, cited Tesboro’s emergency preparedness and response teams, proactive hazard analysis systems, 'Triangle of Prevention System' incident investigation program and employee training systems as some reasons for the “star” site designation.

Avery Dennison, which converts bulk rolls of paper and film materials into smaller roll widths/lengths for the narrow web industry, earned their “star” recognition following a comprehensive on-site evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts. The company employs about 30 workers at its Riverside facility.

"From the top down, Avery Dennison-Riverside has displayed an outstanding effort in implementing a comprehensive safety and health management system," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "The company is an exemplar of workplace safety."

The Voluntary Protection Programs recognize employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems, and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. In VPP, management, labor and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses through a system focused on hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, management commitment and worker involvement. To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous on-site evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. Union support is required for applicants represented by a bargaining unit. VPP participants are re-evaluated every three to five years to remain in the programs. VPP participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status. For information on VPP and other cooperative programs, visit: www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/index_programs.html.