OSHA's Rob Medlock (left) presents a VPP Merit status plaque to Plasticolors' CEO Steve Walling (middle) and company CFO Scott Becker.
Plasticolors Inc. (Ashtabula, Ohio), a supplier of pigment and chemical dispersions to the paint, coatings, caulk, sealants and thermoset plastics industries, has been accepted into the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

"This is a great honor for Plasticolors," says Rob Medlock, the Cleveland-area director of OSHA. "The company is now one of only 1,180 companies to be accepted into the program out of approximately 7 million companies nationwide."

Plasticolors began pursuing acceptance into the VPP in 2002, and is the third manufacturer in the county to be accepted into the program. Designed by OSHA and based on a set of performance standards to promote outstanding health and safety management systems and to establish partnerships with the regulatory community, VPP evaluates an organization's health and safety program based on management accountability for worker health and safety, and a continuous effort to identify and eliminate workplace hazards.

After a lengthy application process and an intensive effort by Plasticolors employees, the manufacturer underwent a four-day onsite review of its facility by OSHA representatives, including an industrial hygienist and safety specialist in early 2004. The OSHA team observed working conditions, reviewed documentation, and conducted formal and informal interviews of employees at Plasticolors to determine its recommended status.

"Acceptance into OSHA's VPP is a great accomplishment," says Ed Trenn, regulatory affairs and quality systems manager at Plasticolors. "There are many advantages to being a VPP site, but partnering with OSHA to ensure the health and safety of our employees is the primary benefit. At the end of the day, we want our employees to return home as healthy as they were when they came to work."

OSHA's determination of Merit status means that Plasticolors is on track to achieve Star status within the next three years. Star facilities comply with all VPP requirements prescribed by OSHA, have lower injury or illness rates than their industry's average, and represent model health and safety programs for their industry. Plasticolors will continue to work with its mentor, Mark DePugh from DuPont's Circleville, Ohio plant, to achieve this status.

Plasticolors also is ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO/TS-16949 certified. For more information, visit www.plasticolors.com.