Michaels calls VPP a 'model program', supports member fees

In an Aug. 23 speech, OSHA administrator David Michaels called the Voluntary Protection Programs his agency's model program for preventing work injuries, but reiterated earlier statements that OSHA's resources need to be focused on noncompliant companies.

Speaking before the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association in Orlando, FL, Michaels defended eliminating federal funding for VPP and the search for nongovernmental funding. Despite criticism that alternative funding such as participation fees could hurt the integrity of VPP, Michaels supported the idea, citing other agencies with similar user fee-based programs that are successful.

The integrity of VPP came into question last year when a Government Accountability Office report (.pdf file) suggested the program was allowing unqualified worksites to participate. Michaels said OSHA issued memorandums addressing GAO's concerns and instituted a review examining how regions and the national office implement VPP.

VPP participants have injury and illness rates below the national average for their industry and are exempt from routine OSHA inspections.

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