Industrial Safety

Plant receives prestigious OSHA certification for a second time


Jan 28, 2009

Linde North America’s Medford, Ore., electronic gases plant has been recognized for achieving the highest level of excellence in employee safety and health by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Linde North America is a member of The Linde Group, a gases and engineering company. Linde’s Medford plant has operated since 1998, producing and shipping high-purity gases used in manufacturing integrated circuits — the essential components of electronic equipment, such as computers and cell phones.

The plant was certified with a Star rating under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which recognize and promote the agency's vision of an effective safety- and health-management system in every workplace in America. VPP approval is an official recognition of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary performance in occupational safety and health. Once certified with a Star rating, the workplace is effectively self-policing in terms of health and safety for a period of three years.

Art Pernsteiner, Medford plant manager, said, “In an industrial setting, particularly when working with hazardous chemicals and equipment, safety isn’t just one person’s responsibility, or a discrete part of the job. Safety must be integrated into every activity, with a genuine commitment from every person on site. The VPP certification validates that commitment and the partnership that exists between Linde management and its employees.”

This is the second time the Medford plant has received the VPP’s Star rating, which covers a total of six consecutive years in the program. OSHA conferred the rating — the program’s highest designation — after a rigorous onsite review of the facility's safety and health programs, interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite. Organizations achieving Star status typically have fewer injuries and illnesses because they operate with a high level of management leadership and employee involvement in their safety and health programs.

Charlie Koehler, vice president of safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) for Linde North America, said, “This is truly a significant achievement. This means that everyone at our Medford facility is demonstrating exemplary behavior toward sustaining a safe working environment. I congratulate every employee at the plant for their dedication and commitment in creating a culture where caring for each other’s safety is a core value.”