Federal agencies Legislation Voluntary Protection Programs

Senators push latest bipartisan attempt to make OSHA’s VPP permanent

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Washington – Senators on both sides of the aisle are again seeking to make OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs a permanent fixture.

The Voluntary Protection Program Act (S. 1878), co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennett (D-CO), was introduced Sept. 27 and referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“The Voluntary Protection Program is a win for employers, employees and the federal government,” Enzi said in a Sept. 27 press release. “We have a proven program that can protect the health and safety of employees while saving the government and private sector hundreds of millions of dollars by avoiding injuries and illness.

“It’s time we cement this program into law to ensure that it can grow and provide help for more of America’s small businesses.”

Enzi and Bennett introduced legislation with the identical purpose in April 2016, but it never moved out of committee.

Members of the House also have tried to accomplish the same goal, with the latest attempt made in March. That bill, H.R. 1444, remains in the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Reps. Todd Rokita (R-IN), Gene Green (D-TX) and Martha Roby (R-AL), among others, also co-sponsored a bill in May 2015 that did not move out of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee.

OSHA is seeking to finalize improvements to VPP within the next year, Doug Kalinowski, director of OSHA’s Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, said Sept. 26 at the 2017 National Safety Council Congress & Expo in Indianapolis.

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