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Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
October 19, 2005
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428


BOC Edwards Medford joins VPP safety recognition program

- The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) today presented 'VPP Star Award' status to BOC Edwards Medford Electronics Materials in White City. 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. Currently, nine sites participate in VPP in Oregon.

The Medford Electronic Materials facility purifies and packages compressed gases used primarily by the semiconductor industry. During the past three years, BOC Edwards in White City has maintained a workplace injuries and illness average that is 70 percent below the national average for the compressed gas industry. BOC Edwards employs 20 people at their White City facility.

"The Medford Electronic Materials facility has reached a level of safety and health excellence that is reserved for a select group of employers in the U.S.," said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA. "In an industry that has a number of potential hazards and opportunities for people to become injured, BOC Edwards has taken the best parts of several approaches to safety and tailored them to make their safety program into the most effective blend for their needs."

VPP is a program designed to recognize employers that have made an exceptional commitment to workplace safety and health. To achieve VPP status, a worksite must have a three-year-average-injury-and-illness rate at or below the rates of other employers in the same industry. The worksite undergoes an extensive Oregon OSHA review of workplace conditions, safety records, employee safety-and-health programs, and regulatory compliance. The review includes Oregon OSHA interviews with employees.

Evaluators review 19 program elements, including management commitment to safety, employee participation, self-inspection, safety-and-health training, emergency programs and drills, and preventive maintenance. VPP employers are removed from Oregon OSHA's routine scheduled inspection list for the duration of their participation. Employees do not lose any rights under the program. Oregon OSHA still investigates accidents, formal complaints, and chemical spills.

White City is home to two of the nine VPP sites in Oregon. Additional VPP sites in Oregon are AmeriTies West LLC in The Dalles, Georgia-Pacific Toledo pulp and paper mill, Georgia-Pacific Philomath mill, Georgia-Pacific Coos Bay mill, the Impregilo-Healy Joint Venture West Side CSO project in Portland, Marvin Wood Products in Baker City, PW Eagle in Eugene and Timber Products Spectrum Division 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. More information and resources for workplace safety and health are available on Oregon OSHA's Web site, www.orosha.org