OxyChem has been a longstanding and dedicated participant in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which recognize worksites in the United States that implement comprehensive health and safety programs beyond regulatory requirements, actively involve employees in safety, and demonstrate sustained safety performance. OSHA's Star recognition is granted to worksites and employers that demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards and continuous improvement of their health and safety management system. A worksite must have comprehensive safety and health programs and an Injury and Illness Incidence Rate (IIR) and Days Away, Restricted and Transfer (DART) Rate below the industry's national average. OSHA also expects work sites to have active employee committees that ensure the facility meets or exceeds regulatory requirements. Seventeen OxyChem facilities, including the headquarters in Dallas, have achieved Star Status under OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program as among the safest work sites in the U.S. OxyChem's consistent performance demonstrates that employee involvement sustains high levels of safety performance, which is the primary goal of pursuing the OSHA Star designation.
Occidental applies rigorous Health, Environment and Safety (HES) risk management and Asset Integrity (AI) programs to safeguard personnel, protect the environment and maintain operational reliability of equipment and systems in our plants and fields. Our risk-based AI program includes several key elements: mechanical integrity, maintenance, corrosion management and quality assurance/quality control. Occidental developed an innovative AI management system to maintain a high level of equipment and systems integrity throughout its facilities, involving operations, facility engineering, major projects, construction and supply chain, business planning and HES. Occidental's AI program leverages the experience of engineers and specialists in mechanical integrity, maintenance, corrosion and other disciplines to manage and coordinate technical requirements and assist in program implementation, execution, review and improvement. This fosters a consistent approach worldwide and promotes the use of standardized tools and processes. We also extend this approach to the joint ventures that we operate.
The foundation for Occidental's successful AI program is the classification of systems and equipment that must remain available to maintain safe and reliable operations. Once critical equipment is classified, Mechanical Integrity teams develop detailed inspection and testing strategies and procedures for each specific equipment category. Occidental uses an internationally recognized and rigorous risk-based inspection process to prioritize and manage its inspection programs for critical equipment. It reflects up-to-date facility information and helps focus resources where they provide the greatest benefit. Inspection methods include on-stream techniques that minimize impact to operations. We evaluate and deploy innovative technologies and advanced techniques to increase the accuracy, confidence, reliability and scope of asset integrity inspections.
Occidental's capital investments in maintenance and its AI program emphasize mitigation of risks to people. We also continually invest in inspection activities, projects to upgrade or replace facilities and pipelines in environmentally sensitive areas, and automated control systems to detect and mitigate leaks and spills to the environment. Occidental has also reinforced operator authority to safely shut down facilities, pipelines and wells - without the need to first contact a supervisor - when a potential incident is detected. Together, these efforts have enabled our operators to detect and immediately take steps to mitigate incidents.
Occidental is committed to ensuring the vehicles it owns or operates, including tractor-trailers, railcars, light-duty trucks and passenger automobiles, are well maintained and equipped with appropriate safety features. Transportation safety issues - including the transportation of hazardous materials - are managed to prevent incidents and minimize risks. We collaborate closely with our contractors who transport our personnel, products and equipment, whether by ground, water or air, to increase transportation safety.
The key to effective emergency preparedness is practice. Occidental stresses the importance of safety drills and various emergency scenarios across all its operations. Employees are trained in how to respond to emergencies and to test business resiliency systems, such as communications networks and data centers.
Occidental coordinates its emergency plans with government institutions and public officials on issues of mutual importance, such as a storm response and evacuation. In the Houston-Galveston region, June through November marks the hurricane season. Occidental engages with federal, state and local agencies and local industry to coordinate hurricane plans and, on occasion, to participate in drills to simulate what would happen during a potential hurricane situation. These drills and related activities help to streamline communication among emergency response agencies, local governments and Occidental's emergency management teams.
The good health of our workforce is a high priority. Occidental is committed to offering programs that guide employees along the journey to better health, and providing them with resources, education, tools, and positive support to achieve their personal wellness goals. Occidental also provides access to a company-wellness platform with information and interactive tools that help employees create personalized wellness plans specifically designed to meet their needs. OxyHealth programs support early detection of risks, which enables employees to undertake lifestyle changes to lessen or eliminate the potential concern, as well as establish and meet targets that leads to better long-term health.
Occidental has expanded its longstanding wellness initiative, which began with a 2013 launch of the OxyHealth program, to encourage active lifestyles and physical fitness. OxyHealth has had a direct impact on reduced absenteeism, long-term disability, and short-term disability. On an annual basis, Occidental provides employees and spouses with flu vaccinations, travel immunizations prior to international travel, and access to a number of local healthcare resources. Annual physicals are fully covered for employees through Occidental's benefit plans and many of Occidental's office locations host annual health fairs providing complimentary health checks for employees and their families. Through its employee benefits program, Occidental also offers an Employee Assistance Program that provides employees and their dependents with complimentary access to counseling services to help with personal or work-related challenges. The program provides confidential assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.