Trade News Release
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 1998
Contact: Frank Kane (202) 219-8151
Excellence in safety and health recognized
NASA'S LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER BECOMES FIRST FEDERAL
WORKSITE ADMITTED TO OSHA'S PRESTIGIOUS VPP
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., today became the first federal government site to join a select group of worksites recognized for excellence in workplace safety and health.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Charles N. Jeffress announced that the Langley Research Center has been approved for membership in the Occupational Safety and Health Administraton's (OSHA's) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Program. The announcement was made at the 53rd Annual Federal Safety and Health Conference in Los Angeles, Calif.
"The Federal Government should lead the way when it comes to occupational safety and health in America. We are proud that the Langley Research Center, with its first-class safety and health program, is helping to do that. We want to recognize other programs like this in the federal sector," said Jeffress.
The Langley Research Center was established as the nation's first aviation research center in 1917. Its mission was later expanded to research space flight. The site covers 800 acres and includes 220 buildings housing many unique laboratories and facilities.
The safety and health program protects about 2,300 federal workers and 1,100 private sector contract employees against such hazards as high-velocity air in wind tunnels, temperature extremes, radiation, elevated noise levels in wind tunnels and testing of jet aircraft, and high voltage electricity, to name a few.
The research center has injury and lost workday injury and illness rates about 70 percent below that of similar private sector laboratories.
In evaluating the safety and health program for VPP membership, an OSHA team found excellence in safety and health management, employee training and involvement, and appropriate resources. "The center's formal safety and health policy which says 'no job is so important that it cannot be performed in a safe manner' is an established condition of employment," the team noted.
Two unions represent Langley Research Center employees. They are American Federation of Government Employees Local 2755 and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local PM 2829.
The VPP is designed to recognize and promote effective safety and health management. In the VPP, management, labor and OSHA establish a cooperative relationship at a workplace that has implemented a strong program. Star participants meet all VPP requirements.
Private sector participants in VPP have shown that an investment in the OSHA program is a smart allocation of resources. VPP sites experience fewer employee injuries and illnesses, reduced workers' compensation costs, improved productivity and improved employee morale, recognition in the community, and improvement of programs that are already good, through the internal and external reviews that are part of the VPP application process. Federal worksites approved for VPP will not be targeted by OSHA for a programmed inspection.
There is a total of 468 worksites, including Langley Research Center, in the VPP.
(Editor's Note: After Oct. 30, 1998, the phone number for OSHA's Office of Public Affairs will be (202) 693-1999. The fax number will be (202) 693-1634.)
The text of this news release is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov.
Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-219-8151.