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March 08, 2013
Lawmakers introduce bipartisan Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) legislation

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).

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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.

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