IR #2009-30
September 23, 2009

Erika Monterroza
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050


Cal/OSHA recognizes IBM Research-Almaden for workplace safety achievements

San Francisco—The Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety & Health (DIR/DOSH) today awarded its 71st Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) STAR Flag to IBM Research - Almaden in the Silicon Valley. IBM Research - Almaden performs science and technology research focusing on fundamental science, nanotechnology, spin physics and photoresists.

“IBM Research – Almaden has achieved the coveted status of being a Cal/VPP STAR member and for good reason,” said DIR Director John C. Duncan. “Their commitment to workplace safety goes above and beyond the basic requirements of providing protection for their employees. This is evident in their below average injury rate of .76 per 100 full time workers compared to the industry average of 1.8.”

Almaden is one of eight laboratories worldwide that make up IBM Research. Scientists and engineers at the lab perform basic and applied research in computer science, services, storage systems, physical sciences and materials science and technology. There are 875 employees and close to half are researchers and visiting staff.

To enhance workplace safety, Amaden has prepared a comprehensive safety profile for each laboratory work area that includes an assessment of possible hazards, personal protective equipment needs, warning sign requirements, eyewashes stations, emergency power switch off buttons, and other critical safeguards to protect their employees. The lab profiles are reviewed and updated on a regular basis by health and safety professionals.

Environmentally conscious, Almaden uses a project management system to identify potential environmental impacts of engineering projects and generate a checklist requiring approval before proceeding. 

Training and recognition are top priorities at Almaden. Their Chemical Distribution Center approves, receives and tracks all chemicals are used at their facilities.  This system verifies that only highly trained and qualified employees can use chemicals and also provides an effective way to track and manage the chemical inventory to ensure proper storage and handling.

Almaden’s “Thanks” Recognition Program is ahead of the industry by allowing both managers and employees to recognize each other for safety and health and other valid achievements.

 “Commitment to employee well-being is a fundamental value within IBM.  I am proud to accept the Cal/VPP STAR on behalf of the employees and managers at Almaden, for their success in making us a recognized leader in occupational safety and health in California," said Josephine Cheng, IBM Fellow and Vice President, IBM Research – Almaden. "Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our employees is our highest priority."

Candidates for the Cal/VPP STAR program are required to complete a rigorous health and safety process. There are five key elements required to achieve induction into the program including management commitment, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, health and safety training, and continual improvement. Applicants must submit documents to support the implementation of the five Cal/VPP elements along with the last three years’ average Injury & Illness Rates and Loss Work Day Incident rates.

DIR/DOSH protects workers and the public from safety hazards and provides consultation to employers. For more information about the Voluntary Protection Program and other topics, visit the DOSH web site at

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