Bipartisan bill would make VPP permanent
Washington – OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs would become a permanent fixture, under bipartisan legislation introduced May 21 in the House.
VPP is a cooperative program intended to encourage employers to implement a comprehensive safety and health management system. Worksites with effective systems and low injury and illness rates relative to their respective industry are accepted into VPP, and are then exempt from programmed OSHA inspections.
The Voluntary Protection Program Act would codify VPP so that Congress cannot withdraw funding for it. Reps. Todd Rokita (R-IN), Gene Green (D-TX) and Martha Roby (R-AL) are sponsoring the bill.
“It is one federal program that works well, fostering cooperation between private businesses and a government regulator,” Rokita said in a press release. “Instead of heavy-handed government regulation, this program engages the private sector to create safe work environments.”
The text of the legislation was not available at press time.
Created in 1982, VPP has more than 2,200 participating worksites covering nearly 1 million workers, according to the release. Although many stakeholders have hailed the program's success in promoting safe work practices, reports in recent years have highlighted potential flaws, including insufficient controls to ensure VPP participants maintain “exemplary occupational safety and health systems.”