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July 27, 2012
OSHA makes the case for VPP to DC lawmakers

Assistant Secretary of Labor Jordan Barab expressed support for OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) in testimony before a congressional panel. In his remarks to the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protection, Barab highlighted many VPP successes, but he also acknowledged challenges.

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Barab said OSHA has been responsive to recommendations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to improve the VPP. An example is a new requirement to verify the quality of VPP self-evaluations and the quality of regional review of VPP sites.

The agency has also clarified the conduct expected of VPP evaluators and procedures for reconciling injury/illness data on the OSHA log. Barab noted difficult budgetary challenges facing the VPP and the controversy surrounding incentive programs. He said that in response to GAO recommendations OSHA is refining internal controls and doing a better job of measuring program effectiveness.

Barab concluded, “VPP is an integral part of the toolbox which the Congress has provided to OSHA to accomplish our mission. We are extremely proud of this program and are working every day to strengthen it. VPP will continue to have the U.S. Department of Labor’s full support.”

Lawmakers also heard from R. Davis Layne, executive director of the VPP Participants’ Association. He expressed disappointment that OSHA’s 2013 budget request reflects a decrease in funding for the VPP.

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