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Region 8 News Release: 11-55-DEN
Jan. 21, 2011
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: 303-844-1302
E-mail: kulczewski.richard@dol.gov

Tesoro Petroleum refinery in Mandan, ND, recognized by
US Department of Labor's OSHA for excellence in job safety and health

BISMARCK, N.D. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recognized the Tesoro Petroleum refinery in Mandan, N.D., for an exemplary workplace safety and health program. The petroleum refinery was designated as a "star" site, the highest level of recognition offered by OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs.

"This award reflects a consistent focus and commitment to workplace safety and health at the Tesoro Mandan refinery," said Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver, Colo. "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."

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. To date, Tesoro Mandan is the only refinery in OSHA's six-state Region 8 to receive this prestigious recognition.

Mike Maslowski, an OSHA compliance assistance specialist in Bismarck, presented the VPP award to the worksite representatives. According to Maslowski, the Tesoro safety and health program has many aspects that are considered best practices. "The site's emergency preparedness and response teams, proactive hazard analysis systems, 'Triangle of Prevention System' incident investigation program and employee training systems are all noteworthy," he said.

The Voluntary Protection Programs recognize employers and workers in 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 http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/index_programs.html.

For additional information about the Voluntary Protection Programs, employers should contact Brad Baptiste, OSHA's VPP regional manager in Denver, 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 these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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