Proposed legislation before Congress would make OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) permanent. The measure was introduced by Representatives Gene Green (D-Texas) and Tom Petri (R-Wisconsin).
VPP was created in 1982 as a partnership between OSHA and private industry, but has never been authorized into law. Petri called VPP a “great example of successful cooperation between private businesses and a government regulator.” He noted that while a “heavy hand” is sometimes needed, “VPP represents a balanced and sensible approach to achieving this goal with reasonable oversight.”
Businesses certified under VPP must meet performance-based criteria, undergo a thorough on-site audit, and maintain a safety and health management system. VPP sites are typically exempt from programmed exemptions.
Petri praised VPP for saving money while protecting workers. Currently, more than a million employees work at about 2,500 VPP sites. According to OSHA, the average VPP location has a “days away, restricted, or transferred” (DART) rate that is 52 percent below the industry average.