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OSHA News Release
Region 8

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Region 8 News Release: OSHA 07-1512-DEN
Friday, Oct. 5, 2007
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: (303) 844-1302 


U.S. Labor Department's OSHA recognizes Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center in Bismarck, N.D., for excellence in occupational safety and health

BISMARCK, N.D. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recognized Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center in Bismarck for excellence in its employee safety and health program. The long-term care center and assisted living facility was designated a Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) "star" site during a ceremony on October 3.

The VPP "star" designation is the highest level of recognition awarded by OSHA. Star sites maintain employee safety and health programs that far exceed minimum OSHA standards. Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center is the only healthcare facility to achieve VPP star status in OSHA's Region 8, which includes North and South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.

"Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center has exhibited excellence in safety and health management," said Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver. "This accomplishment of VPP recognition is tremendous and is evidence of meaningful employee involvement and a dedicated management team."

Bruce Beelman, OSHA's area office director in Bismarck, along with Tom Deutscher, an OSHA compliance assistance specialist, presented a VPP flag and plaque to the Missouri Slope team at the ceremony.

"One of the many innovative methods the center used to reduce employee injuries is direct radio communication among members of the nursing staff, making co-worker assistance readily available for resident lifts and transfers," Beelman said.

VPP offers employers a unique opportunity to move beyond traditional safety programs by recognizing participants who successfully incorporate comprehensive safety and health programs into their total management systems. The VPP is open to deserving employers in any industry.

Requirements for application to the VPP, which currently comprises 1,793 worksites with companies from more than 280 industries nationwide, include a high degree of management support and employee involvement, a high-quality worksite hazard analysis, hazard prevention and control programs, and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective, in place and in operation for at least one year before a company may apply to join the program.

More VPP information is available from Brad Baptiste, OSHA's VPP manager in Denver, who can be reached at (720) 264-6555.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure 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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