OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) promote workplace safety through collaborative relationships with contractors, workers, and federal regulators. On the surface, VPP is like any other organization aimed at minimizing the frequency of injuries in the workplace; however, it differs in a few notable ways. Namely, VPP is focused on creating a threefold benefit for workers, employers, and federal regulators. Once data is collected, it is used to inform future safety standards.
In part one, the Tampa construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law introduced VPP and information regarding its authority, legal backing, and origins. In part two, we will explore how VPP works and how it benefits workers, employers, and federal regulators.
How Does VPP Work?
VPP utilizes performance-based criteria to grade workplace safety management and health systems. Sites are invited to apply for assessment, which uses the aforementioned grading scale to rank workplace safety on a given project site. This program includes verification by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which requires an application review and a thorough onsite inspection. Approved sites are enrolled in one of three programs:
Star: awarded to contractors and workers who demonstrate sufficient prevention and control of onsite safety and health hazards. They also display continuous improvements moving forward.
Merit: awarded to contractors and workers who have improved onsite safety, but have not met the criteria for the “Star” rating.
Demonstration: awarded to contractors and workers who utilize alternative safety and health management systems. This program affords OSHA the opportunity to field test new approaches to onsite health and safety.
Benefits of VPP
VPP aims to improve worker safety, increase employers’ profits, and facilitate new safety and health regulations by bridging the gap between OSHA and the workers it aims to protect.
Benefits for Workers: workers benefit from a significant reduction in workplace injuries and illnesses. Statistical evidence supports the use of VPP in increasing the viability of a site’s safety and health management systems.
Benefits for Employers: workers’ compensation premiums and other related costs can quickly eat away at an employer’s profits. Employers must absorb the cost of workplace injuries, so a reduction in injuries means higher profit margins.
Benefits for Federal Regulators: VPP-certified sites become ambassadors of safety that provide input to help maximize the government’s resources.
There are many ways to get involved with VPP. For example, the Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association (VPPPA) is a nonprofit organization that works to spread information about the benefits of cooperative programs. If you would like to learn more about how VPP can help improve safety on your project sites, consult a Tampa construction lawyer.
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.