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What are Voluntary Protection Programs? Part 1

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Are you having a hard time maintaining worker safety on your project site? Ensuring that all of your workers are practicing the safety guidelines established by governing bodies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can seem like an insurmountable task without the assistance of the Tampa construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law.

One solution to this common issue is OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), a series of programs aimed at improving workplace safety and health. In this two-part series, our Tampa construction lawyers will explore VPP and uncover how this program can improve workplace safety and reduce the likelihood of your project becoming subject to an OSHA citation.

What is VPP?

VPP was designed to supplement workplace safety through a collaborative effort with management, labor, and OSHA. By instituting a comprehensive system that values safety and health as the cornerstones of project management, VPP helps refocus construction projects with a safety-first philosophy. VPP helps determine whether or not your project site is utilizing an effective safety and health management system. If your firm has been approved into VPP, that means OSHA has recognized the extra effort you afford to your employee’s safety. In fact, individual employees who go above and beyond the call of duty to secure the project site can be recognized by VPP.

OSHA describes VPP as a series of “on-site consultation services” that can be “coupled with an effective enforcement program” to “expand employee protection.” If you feel like your workers lack dedication to safety, VPP is one way to increase their motivation. You can apply for VPP by contacting the OSHA regional office for your area.

VPP Authority, Legal Backing, and Origins

VPP is established in Section (2)(b)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This legislation establishes VPP as a device to assure that all working men and women in the United States are working in environments that “preserve our human resources.” VPP encourages employers and their employees to work diligently to minimize the frequency of occupational safety and health hazards in the workplace. It also motivates contractors and workers to utilize and improve existing programs that aim to improve working conditions.

California was the first state to officially experiment with VPP in 1979. In 1982, OSHA officially announced VPP and confirmed its first use on a live project site. Many years later, in 1998, federal worksites achieved eligibility for VPP, greatly increasing the use of VPP nationwide.

VPP is one effective way to improve workplace safety on your project site. In part two, we will explore how VPP works and the benefits of joining.

If you would like to speak with a Tampa construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.