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OSHA News Release
Region 1

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Region 1 News Release: 08-1224-BOS/BOS 2008-259
Wed., Sept. 17, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA names West Warwick, R.I., post office as workplace safety and health star
Fifth Ocean State worksite to enter prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs

WEST WARWICK, R.I. - The U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) West Warwick post office is the 14th postal service worksite in New England ¿ and the second in Rhode Island ¿ to achieve star status in the elite Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The VPP recognizes worksites that are committed to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards and encourages cooperative relationships among labor, management, unions and government. The VPP star is the highest level of recognition that OSHA awards.

"Employees and management at the West Warwick post office do not take safety for granted," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator for New England. "Instead, they take a proactive approach, seeking to identify and eliminate hazards before they hurt employees. This mutual commitment to safety and health through the VPP can pay dividends in fewer injuries and illnesses, improved productivity and heightened morale."

The West Warwick facility has 49 employees who are represented by the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers. It was awarded its star designation after an OSHA team's three-day onsite review, which included interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite, found its safety and health programs consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants.

Among its areas of excellence is its "Hazard Meter Program" through which mail carriers and management worked together to identify, evaluate and address 100 hazards encountered by carriers on their mail delivery routes.

The West Warwick post office now joins more than 2,030 worksites in 270-plus industries that have earned entry into the VPP, including four other Ocean State star worksites: the USPS Pawtucket post office, Modine Manufacturing Co. in West Kingston, BG Dighton Power in Tiverton and NBC 10 in Cranston.

Through the VPP, employers and employees have experienced significant decreases in fatalities, injuries and illnesses; associated cost reductions including lowered workers' compensation expenses; positive changes in company culture and attitudes toward safety and health; and average injury rates 50 percent lower than other employers in their respective industries. More information is available from the VPP manager in OSHA's Boston Regional Office at 617-565-9890, or online at

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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