IR # 97-53
Thursday, October 16, 1997

Rick Rice
Dean Fryer
(415) 972-8835

Cal/OSHA Awards Aerojet with Cal/STAR Rating for Safety

SAN FRANCISCO -- California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Chief John Howard announced today that the GenCorp Aerojet plant in Azusa has been named a Cal/STAR participant under the California Voluntary Protection Program (Cal/VPP). The distinction is granted only to companies that achieve excellence in workplace safety and health protection.

To commemorate this achievement, John Duncan, Acting Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations, the parent agency over Cal/OSHA, will present a Cal/STAR certificate to Aerojet officials during a ceremony at the company's Azusa facility today. "The designation as a Cal/STAR participant goes to companies such as Aerojet Azusa that have proactive programs which meet or exceed Cal/VPP standards to control occupational hazards," Duncan said. "The Aerojet Azusa facility has shown a professional commitment to ensure that its workplace meets these high standards and is clearly setting a benchmark for occupational safety and health in the industry."

Aerojet Azusa develops and manufactures advanced multispectral sensor systems for airborne and space surveillance, defense, andenvironmental meteorological programs as well as sophisticated smart sensors for target-activated munitions. Aerojet has been in business at the Azusa site for 49 years, since the founding of Aerojet in 1942 and has approximately 1,500 employees.

Before any California business gains Cal/STAR recognition, the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service thoroughly reviews safety measures and program procedures established by the company to ensure that they meet stringent Cal/VPP criteria. The program was designed by the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service, under federal guidelines, to offer recognition to California companies that strive to attain excellence in workplace safety and health.

Participation in Cal/VPP is based on having had, over a three-year period, injury and illness incidence and lost workday rates well below the state average for that specific industry. Aerojet Azusa's incidence rate was one fourth that of the industry average and the company's lost workday rate was one third of the industry average. Other factors contributing to receipt of a Cal/STAR rating includes the commitment of the employer to workplace safety and involvement of employees in the company's safety program.

Aerojet Azusa is the first Aerospace company in California to achieve Cal/STAR recognition since the program began two years ago. Only seven other companies in California have gained the Cal/VPP recognition including IBM's Storage Systems Division in San Jose; Tropicana, the national orange juice manufacturer and distributor located in the City of Industry; Tenneco Packaging, a plastics fabrications company in Bakersfield; BASF, a manufacturer of polystyrene resin pellets from Santa Ana; Gillette, a writing instrument manufacturer in Santa Monica; 3M Dental, a dental products manufacturing company in Irvine; and GE Flight Test Operations in Mojave.

Continued participation in Cal/STAR-Cal/VPP is contingent upon favorable injury and illness reports, program evaluation and triennial re-evaluation by the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service. Also, while companies are still subject to complaint or accident investigations by Cal/OSHA enforcement inspectors, participants in Cal/VPP are exempt from routine compliance inspections. Any companies that would like to explore participation in Cal/STAR-Cal/VPP may contact the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service at (415) 972-8515.