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Region 8 News Release: 11-449-DEN
April 6, 2011
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: 303-844-1302
E-mail: kulczewski.richard@dol.gov

Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center in Bismarck, ND, recognized by
US Labor Department's OSHA for excellence in safety and health

BISMARCK, N.D. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today recognized the employees and management of the Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center in Bismarck, a long-term care center, for excellence in the company's employee safety and health program. The care center has been recertified as a "star" site in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs.

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.

"Achieving VPP star status is difficult, and being recertified is even more difficult. To be successful requires a consistent commitment to excellence in safety and health," said Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver. "This site remains the only health care facility in our six-state region to achieve this status."

Eric Brooks, assistant director of OSHA's Bismarck Area Office, presented a VPP flag and plaque to the Missouri Slope team during a ceremony at the center.

"Many of Missouri Slope's safety and health practices are considered 'areas of excellence,'" said Brooks. "Employee involvement and management commitment are exceptional, as are the self-inspection and housekeeping programs."

The Voluntary Protection Programs recognize private and federal work sites with effective safety and health management systems that have maintained injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages. Management, labor and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses through a system focused on hazard prevention and control, work site analysis and training. Union support is required for applicant work sites where employees are represented by a bargaining unit. Participating work sites are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/vpp/index.html or contact Brad Baptiste, the VPP manager for OSHA's Region 8 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 ensure 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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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