DOE presents ORISE its 14th Star of Excellence Award for safety and health

Oct. 22, 2019

For the 14th year in a row, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education has met the exceptional health and safety standards set by the Department of Energy, which recently presented ORISE with the Star of Excellence Award during DOE’s annual Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association national conference.

ORISE Environment, Safety and Health Director Mark Berkheimer accepts the DOE Star of Excellence Award for safety

DOE Director of Office of Worker Safety and Health Assistance and DOE Office of Health and Safety Bradley Davy (right) presents the 14th Star of Excellence Award to ORISE Environment, Safety and Health representative Mark Berkheimer.   

The Star of Excellence award represents the highest achievement level held by DOE sites nationwide. It is presented to contractors who meet exceptional safety and health standards, such as an injury and illness rate of 75 percent better than the national average of comparable U.S. businesses. The award also recognizes ORISE's role in actively mentoring other companies to help improve their safety performance.

“Protecting the safety and health of our employees is a top priority for ORISE,” said ORISE Director of Environment, Safety and Health Tom Wantland. “Achieving this award for the 14th time reflects ORISE’s ongoing commitment to excellence in health and safety, and it proves that our culture and processes are concurrent with DOE standards.”

DOE initiated VPP in January 1994 to promote improved safety and health performance through public recognition of outstanding programs. It also includes coverage of radiation protection/nuclear safety and emergency management because of the type and complexity of DOE facilities. DOE-VPP provides several proven benefits to participating sites, including improved labor/management relations, reduced workplace injuries and illnesses, increased employee involvement, improved morale, reduced absenteeism and public recognition.

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The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research, and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews, and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination.

ORISE is managed by ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, for DOE’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit