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For Immediate Release
November 3, 2003

Contacts for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Oregon OSHA, 503-947-7428
kevin.s.weeks@state.or.us

James Malone, Georgia-Pacific Corporation, 404-652-6031
jcmalone@gapac.com


Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill records ten years without a lost-time accident


The Department of Consumer and Business Services presented an award recognizing ten consecutive years of safety at Georgia-Pacific's sawmill and planer facility in Philomath on October 31. As of October 1, 2003, the Philomath mill has operated for ten consecutive years without a lost-time accident.


"This is a remarkable achievement," said Peter De Luca, administrator of the DCBS Occupational Safety and Health Division (also known as Oregon OSHA). "Preventing accidents requires a commitment from management and employees working together to be successful. This award emphasizes how committed Georgia-Pacific is to safety, and how the employees in this mill are dedicated to keeping this facility a safe place to work. Both deserve our recognition."
The Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill is one of eight sites currently in the Oregon OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). The Voluntary Protection Program is a national program that encourages employers to voluntarily meet rigorous workplace safety and health management standards to protect workers and reduce injuries.


"Philomath is one of eleven VPP Star sites nationwide in the lumber division of Georgia-Pacific," said Fritz Mason, group manager of Georgia-Pacific's western lumber operations. "When you have this status, sometimes it's easy to lose your focus. I am really proud of their focus on working safely and to keep it in the front of everyone's mind. It takes a lot of hard work on everyone's part to maintain this level of commitment to safety. Ten years is a very long time, and a lot of work hours."


To achieve Oregon VPP status, a work site must have a three-year average injury and illness rate that is at or below those of other employers within their industry. The work site also undergoes an extensive Oregon OSHA review of workplace conditions, safety records, employee safety and health programs, regulatory compliance, which includes interviews with employees. Evaluators review nineteen program elements including management commitment to safety, employee participation, self-inspection, safety and health training, emergency programs and drills, and preventative maintenance. Oregon OSHA's VPP companies are removed from routine scheduled inspection lists for the duration of their participation. Employees do not lose any rights under the program, and Oregon OSHA still investigates accidents, formal complaints and chemical spills.


The Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill produces lumber from a variety of softwoods, with an annual production capacity of 146 million board feet. Up to 150 people are employed at the sawmill and planer facilities.


Additional information about the Oregon OSHA Voluntary Protection Program is available on the division's Web site, www.orosha.org