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OLEDAD, Calif. -- Dole Food Co.'s fresh vegetable salad production facility here has become the first produce company, and only the 37th company in California, to be approved as a Cal/STAR in the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (Cal/OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (Cal/VPP).
Cal/VPP recognizes employers and their employees, which have implemented safety and health systems that effectively prevent and control occupational hazards. The systems go beyond ensuring that minimal Cal/OSHA standards are met by providing the best feasible protection at that site.
Dole's achievement now provides state and national recognition, along with exemption from Cal/OSHA programmed inspections for three years.
The application was produced under the direction of Dole director of manufacturing/West Sheila Lee, and safety manager Alfonso Orozco, along with a Dole VPP committee consisting of plant management and hourly employees.
The achievement covered reporting on such issues as injury and illness rates compared to industry within the past three years, management commitment to safety goals, contract safety, hazard assessment, the facility's medical and industrial hygiene program, specific safety programs and safety training, rules, and work procedures, training, and more.
"We continue to be proud of the honors Soledad receives as a cutting-edge, quality facility that provides the safest workplace possible for our employees," said Eric Schwartz, president, Dole Fresh Vegetables. "The time and effort it took to earn this was tremendous, and I applaud the entire team at our Soledad facility for achieving this success."
The Dole Soledad facility has previously received the National Safety Council Excellence Achievement Awards in the years 2001, 2002, and 2003, among other industry accolades.
With 2005 revenues of $5.5 billion, Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co. is among the world's largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and fresh-cut flowers. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods, and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.