OSHA Prescribes 'Star' Status to Novartis Pharmaceuticals

East Hanover, N.J.-based Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. has earned "Star" status in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program--the agency's highest level of corporate campus safety and health. A division of Novartis AG, globally headquartered in Basel., Switzerland, the East Hanover site develops and markets patent-protected prescription drugs in major therapeutic areas including immunology and infectious diseases, oncology and hematology, cardiovascular and metabolism, respiratory, and neuroscience and ophthalmics.

To achieve VPP status, Novartis showed a three-year average injury and illness rate that was at or below other employers in its industry. The East Hanover site underwent an extensive OSHA review of workplace conditions, safety records, employee safety and health programs, and regulatory compliance. As with all VPP Star sites, Novartis had to show that it is self-sufficient in its ability to control workplace hazards. Star participants are reevaluated every three to five years, although incident rates are reviewed annually.

"Today, we are proud to be recognized by the federal government as a workplace with exemplary safety and health programs. We celebrate this milestone but at the same time, we continue to strive to exceed our record in achieving health and safety for our employees," said Novartis Chief Financial Officer Gary Rosenthal, at the formal flag-raising ceremony last week. "We believe that we have instilled a culture of safety that is beyond sustainable, it is contagious."

According to OSHA, the average VPP worksite has a lost workday incidence rate at least 50 percent below the average of its industry. Seven million OSHA worksites in the United States are eligible for the program, but less than 2,000 have joined. Of these, Novartis' East Hanover site is in the top 10, the agency said.

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