Bipartisan legislation seeks to make VPP permanent

Washington – Legislation that would make OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs a permanent fixture was introduced April 13 in both the Senate and House by a group of Democrats and Republicans.

The Voluntary Protection Program Act (S. 807 and H.R. 1511) would codify the voluntary program, in which businesses, OSHA and labor work cooperatively to implement safety and health management systems.

Private-sector VPP participants have saved more than $300 million, and their injury and illness rates average 50 percent lower than their industry, according to a press release from bill sponsor Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY).

VPP came under scrutiny two years ago after a Government Accountability Office report (.pdf file) suggested OSHA’s lack of internal controls for the program may have allowed unqualified worksites to participate. Worksites in VPP must meet specific safety criteria and are exempt from routine OSHA inspections. Since the release of the GAO report, OSHA has issued several policy memorandums aimed at improving the program.

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