The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold the second of two meetings about Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) on August 28th, 2017, in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
The meetings are meant to continue the discussion on the future direction of the agency’s VPPs. Officials said the discussion will include a review of the July 17, 2017, meeting (which was held in D.C.) along with comments and suggestions from the public on potential avenues for action. Louisiana has over 100 certified VPP employers, making it one of the top states in the program, according to the most recent data on the VPP website.
According to a public announcement on August 14th, OSHA is seeking to reshape VPP so that it continues to represent safety and health excellence, leverages partner resources, further recognizes the successes of long-term participants, and supports smart program growth. OSHA invites stakeholders to provide new ideas on three broad categories which include:
- Overall VPP process and flow;
- Corporate/long-term participant involvement; and
- Special Government Employee activities.
The meeting from 1 to 4 PM in Great Hall B of the Morial Convention Center. The event is free, but to attend you must register by August 23rd, 2017. Attendees can choose from several levels of participation in the discussion, which will cover general guidelines and key issues that were raised in public comments. The comment period for VPP reforms closes September 15th, 2017.
OSHA adopted the VPP on July 2, 1982; the program emphasizes cooperative action among government, industry, and labor to address worker safety and health issues and expand worker protection.
VPPs recognize employers and workers in 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.
In VPP, management, labor, and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through a system focused on: hazard prevention and control; worksite analysis; training; and management commitment and worker involvement.
To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. Union support is required for applicants represented by a bargaining unit. VPP participants are re-evaluated every three to five years to remain in the programs. VPP participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status.
Image Credit: OSHA