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Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
January 21, 2005
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428

Georgia-Pacific Philomath sawmill recognized for worker safety

(Philomath) - The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) renewed ‘VPP Star Award’ status for Georgia-Pacific’s sawmill in Philomath on January 19. The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is a workplace safety-and-health-management program that encourages employers to voluntarily meet rigorous workplace safety standards to protect workers and reduce injuries.

“Georgia-Pacific Philomath has demonstrated that they are among the ‘best of the best’ for workplace safety management in Oregon,” says Peter De Luca, administrator of Oregon OSHA.

Georgia-Pacific employs 140 people at the Philomath sawmill and planer facility, which manufactures dimensional lumber. The mill had a lost-workday injury rate between 2001-2003 that was 80 percent lower than the national industry average for sawmills and planers.

Renewal of ‘Star’ status for Georgia-Pacific Philomath is for a three-year period. The mill joined the Oregon OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) in May 1999 before achieving ‘VPP Merit’ status in 2003, becoming the first employer in Oregon to graduate from SHARP to VPP status. ‘Merit’ sites meet many requirements of VPP while ‘Star’ sites achieve all safety-and-health management requirements.

Georgia-Pacific Philomath is one of seven VPP sites in Oregon. The additional VPP sites are Georgia-Pacific Coos Bay mill, Georgia-Pacific Toledo pulp and paper mill, Kerr McGee Chemical LLC in The Dalles, Marvin Wood Products in Baker City, PW Eagle in Eugene, and Timber Products Spectrum Division (TP Spectrum) in White City.

Oregon OSHA is committed to partnering with employers and workers to keep Oregon’s injury rates low, and workers’ compensation costs under control. One of the best things an employer can do to prevent injuries is to properly train employees. Oregon OSHA offers free training, free safety and health consultations, and education and training materials from the OR-OSHA Resource Center. Keep your employees and workplaces safe through a commitment to training, education and elimination of hazards.

For more information about the VPP or SHARP programs, contact Mark Hurliman, Oregon OSHA VPP/SHARP program coordinator at 503-947-7437. As Oregon's economy improves, safe jobs are smart business. More information and resources are available on Oregon OSHA's Web site, www.orosha.org