On June 3, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the historic Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Act in Virginia. The bill will continue developing the successful VPP system, which encourages companies to take safety above and beyond OSHA requirements. Sen. Kenneth Alexander (D-Norfolk) and Delegate G. Manoli Loupassi (R-Richmond), co-sponsored the bill, which passed unanimously in the general assembly. 

“Governor McAuliffe and leaders of the labor and workforce safety sector made history,” said Mike Maddox, chairman of the Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association (VPPPA). “VPP companies do more than save lives; they are more productive, have greater employee satisfaction and give American companies a competitive edge in the global marketplace. We look forward to other states following Virginia’s lead.”

The VPP Act enjoyed broad support from several groups in attendance, including the Virginia American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Manufacturers’ Association (VMA), American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association (VPPPA) and many companies that participate in VPP.

“This legislation is important for the continued protection of working people everywhere. VPP ensures that workers’ rights to be safe on the job are guaranteed and takes great steps towards saving lives,” said Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays.

“Labor and management have a strong record of implementing VPP together which creates a safer work environment for everyone and is a program labor and management can get behind,” added VMA President Brett Vassey.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) estimates that tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are saved annually through the national and state VPP initiatives, calculating government savings to be more than $59 million a year. Private sector savings total more than $300 million annually. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez recently testified to Congress on the merits of the program and the effort to get more companies involved in VPP.

“Our aim for 2016 is to expand VPP because we think it’s a great program,” said Perez.