VPP will continue, VPPPA says

OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs will continue to thrive despite proposed budget cuts, the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association reassured its members, stressing that any cuts still have to be approved by Congress.

In the fiscal year 2011 budget proposal issued Feb. 1 by President Barack Obama, compliance assistance programs would lose $3 million and Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said federal funding to VPP would be "significantly" reduced.

R. Davis Layne, executive director of Falls Church, VA-based VPPPA, said in a statement that Congress has the authority to return federal funding, and many VPP sites already have contacted their congressional representatives about their concerns. Layne also reiterated the support the program has received from OSHA administrator David Michaels, who said he would work with organizations such as VPPPA to find alternate funding resources for the program.

In recent months, OSHA has shifted from voluntary compliance programs to a stronger enforcement role; Layne said participation in VPP maintains its value despite OSHA's change in focus.

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