For nearly three decades, the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association Inc. (VPPPA) has represented the employers engaged in OSHA or Department of Energy (DOE) Voluntary Protection Programs, which recognize employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national averages for their respective industries. While VPPPA membership also includes organizations that are not pursuing OSHA VPP status, most are.
“As we continue our journey towards VPP certification at NIBCO, the benefits have been quite apparent,” said Kenneth Richardson, human resources manager for NIBCO Inc. “An increased focus on incident analysis, new and improved training programs, substantial trending analysis, it goes on and on. Our management commitment and employee involvement with safety has significantly increased. In my mind, you cannot spell safety without VPP. Hand-in-hand with VPP is the VPPPA, which offers almost unlimited resources in regards to safety.”
VPP includes approximately 2,400 worksites and roughly 1 million employees nationwide. A 2007 report noted that federal VPP worksites saved the government more than $59 million by avoiding injuries, and that private sector VPP participants saved more than $300 million. Employers who are approved for VPP status must commit to continuously improving the safety and health of their worksites while being re-evaluated and monitored by OSHA to ensure continued compliance with program requirements.
“The Mundy Companies uses VPP as our pathway to safety excellence. We see a direct correlation between safety, quality and productivity,” said Buddy Tucker, business development manager for the Mundy Companies. “One of the many benefits of joining the VPPPA is that members share their best practices for the betterment of all.”
Reps. Tom Petri, R-Wis., and Gene Green, D-Texas, recently introduced H.R. 632, the Voluntary Protection Program Act, into the House to codify VPP. VPP, despite its 3-plus decades in existence, was never authorized in law. Petri, a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and one of the bill’s sponsors, called VPP “a great example of successful cooperation between private businesses and a government regulator.”
“Interactions between OSHA and businesses can often be adversarial – this program takes a different approach. I understand there are times when a heavy hand is needed, but most employers want a safe work environment. VPP represents a balanced and sensible approach to achieving this goal with reasonable oversight,” Petri said.
“The OSHA VPP program is an excellent example of an industry and regulatory partnership for a common goal: the highest standards in the safety and health of our people,” agreed John R. Daly, general manager for Noramco Inc. (a Johnson & Johnson company). “At Noramco, safety is a core value... Every day we see the positive impact of VPP on our EHS program for our employees and for our customers. The VPP process challenges us to be the best in health and safety.”