Beyond the Headlines: Embracing Positivity in Industrial Safety – OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs Shine

OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs

Elizabeth Ruiz
Posted on 8/2/2023

We are constantly reading news about industrial accidents and safety violations. Coming up on OSHA’s Safe+Sound Week, why don’t we focus on something positive? This week, we are highlighting OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP).

What are OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs?

According to a video from McWane Ductile, a recognized Merit Worksite, these programs recognize employers and workers in both private industry and federal agencies that have successfully implemented effective safety and health management systems while maintaining injury and illness rates below the national averages of the Bureau of Labor Statistics for their industry. 

What is the Function of VPPs?

Within these programs, the organization’s management and labor work proactively with OSHA to prevent fatality, injury, and illness. The system focuses on:

  • Hazard prevention and control 
  • Analyzing the worksite 
  • Training of the team
  • Worker involvement
  • Commitment from management 

Organizations must apply to the program and pass a thorough onsite evaluation performed by a team of health and safety professionals. Union support is a requirement for organizations represented by a bargaining unit. Participants undergo reevaluation every 3 to 5 years to remain in VPP.

Benefits of Qualifying

OSHA’s Office of Cooperative and State programs reports that injury and illness rates at VPP sites are 50% below industry norms on average. Keeping your team safe is always the top priority. Additionally, fewer incidents in your plant, mill, or mine result in reduced costs

Participants are also exempt from programmed inspections by OSHA while their status is maintained. An overall increase in morale, improved work relationships, and a sense of ownership among employees are other benefits that have been recorded

VPP sites have a positive effect on entire industries, becoming role models that can influence industry-wide practices. Participants are exempt from programmed inspections by OSHA while their status is maintained. All of this, not to mention the bragging rights!

Three Levels of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs

There are three programs within VPP awarded based on certain qualifications, with the ability to move up. 

Levels of OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs
OSHA’s descriptions of the three tiers in VPP

Most Recent VPP Star

AMVAC Chemical Corp, an agricultural chemical company based in Idaho, was once again recognized by OSHA as a VPP Star level organization in July 2023. This company has maintained a Star level for 20 years. The VPP Star certification will be valid for the next three years, and then reevaluated. OSHA Regional Administrator Dorinda Hughes announced “OSHA commends AMVAC’s continued dedication to workplace safety and health. Everyone at AMVAC should be proud of this achievement because retaining ‘Star’ status requires commitment from both management and workers.” Congratulations AMVAC!

Could Your Organization Become a VPP site? 

See if you have what it takes by applying today

Sources: 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

McWane Ductile Video Library

OSHA News Brief

Region VI VPPPA

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