It likely comes as a bittersweet pill for Energizer battery plant workers who will lose their jobs sometime before the end of this year, but the local factory has been re-certified as a 2012 STAR Worksite by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The certification is part of OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program, an initiative designed to promote worksite safety and health.
According to an Energizer release, the certification recognizes the "outstanding performance of companies and employees who have demonstrated significant achievements in workplace safety and health." It added that the Maryville facility was cited for excellence in four areas: management commitment, employee involvement, machine guarding and housekeeping.
"The Maryville team is a dedicated and highly skilled group that displays great professionalism in all aspects of their roles," Plant Manager Hugh Belgarde said in a prepared statement. "More than anything, a safe culture best represents who we are and what we do.
"I remain very proud of the Maryville team and our ability to maintain this prestigious certification through challenging times."
The Maryville plant was initially STAR certified in 2004 and re-certified in 2007, according to the release.
Earlier this month St. Louis-based Energizer Holdings Inc. submitted a letter to the Missouri Department of Economic Development officially announcing that it would begin shutting down the plant near the end of March.
According to the letter, the bulk of the factory's remaining workforce of approximately 290 workers will be laid off between March 30 and Nov. 30.
The move confirmed the corporation's announcement in November 2012 that it was implementing a restructuring plan that would close facilities and cut 1,500 jobs worldwide, or about 10 percent of its workforce.
Workers are to receive either 60 days' notice, 60 days' wages and benefits, or a combination of the two, the letter stated.
Brought online in the fall of 1971, Energizer was one of northwest Missouri's major employers for decades and at one time had a payroll of about 800 people. Late last year when the plant closing was first announced, the factory had approximately 310 full-time employees and between 150 and 200 contract workers.