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May 13, 2010

L&I to award Darrington lumber mill with workplace safety award

TUMWATER – The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is presenting a prestigious workplace safety award to the Hampton Lumber Mill in Darrington, recognizing the achievement with a flag and certificate for the company at a ceremony today.

The mill, which operates on 320 acres and has more than 150 workers, successfully completed L&I’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), a challenging audit that recognizes companies demonstrating a significant commitment to safety. The VPP is a program of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), but in Washington state it is administered by L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

Michael Silverstein, DOSH assistant director, will present a VPP flag and certificate to the mill at a ceremony to be held at the Darrington Community Center. The Hampton Lumber Mill will be designated as a STAR site, signifying it has achieved the highest VPP level.

“The whole mill is very excited to be receiving the VPP STAR status,” said plant manager David Roane. “We entered into this process to find the gaps in our safety program, to get better at protecting our people and to improve our safety performance. The recognition that we have accomplished these goals is very satisfying.”

To even participate, companies must have an excellent safety record. The Hampton mill  previously won its company’s President’s Award for Safety in 2006 and 2007. As part of the VPP certification process, a team of L&I safety consultants visited the mill and interviewed more than 80 employees, reviewed company safety programs and observed mill operations.

“Lumber mills have many hazards, including heavy equipment and machinery, which makes it all the more impressive that the Hampton Lumber Mill was able to earn this safety award,” Silverstein said. “The company has clearly demonstrated that injuries can be prevented if managers and employees work together and dedicate themselves to the mission of workplace safety.”

The mill was purchased by Portland-based Hampton Affiliates in 2002 and consists of a log yard, saw mill, kilns, a planer, shipping area and a cogeneration plant, which provides steam power for the kilns and powers a generator that feeds electricity to the Snohomish County Public Utility District.

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For media information: Hector Castro, L&I, 360-902-6043.

Broadcast version: The Department of Labor and Industries will present a safety award to a Darrington lumber mill today. The Hampton Lumber Mill, which employs 150 workers, has earned STAR status in the Voluntary Protection Program, a federal safety program administered in Washington state by L&I. To earn this honor, the mill had to undergo a rigorous safety audit that included extensive site visits by L&I safety consultants. To learn more about the Voluntary Protection Program, visit www dot Lni dot wa dot gov.

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