The Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station is the first to achieve the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program’s Star Status award for excellence in safety.

The Star Status award recognizes “employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries,” according to the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

The award presentation took place on Thursday morning at the Air Station, where the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) presented Colonel Peter Buck with a plaque and flag.

“The star program is one of OSHA’s most prestigious programs, and you are part of that,” Margo Westmoreland, the Savannah OSHA director said, “You all had experienced just about 55% fewer injuries than any other, on average, compared to other work sites with similar processes.”

The Air Station joined the program in 2007, and since then has reduced workers compensation costs by more than half, estimating a savings in $4.4 million dollars.

“Today’s an important milestone for team Beaufort, but it’s not an end state,” said Buck, “By now you know that I am particularly focused on our culture, a culture of excellence, and therefore a culture of excellence in safety.”