Stating that workplace injuries and fatalities could be reduced, the American Society of Safety Engineers'' (ASSE) President Eddie Greer is urging Congress to pass H.R. 2235, the bill that codify the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP).
For many years OSHA has run the VPP for employers that have gone above and beyond OSHA standards in the area of safety.
Those that are approved for participation are exempted from inspections and investigations except those arising from employee complaints, fatalities, catastrophes or significant toxic releases.
In a letter to Rep. Thomas Petri, chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Greer stated, "These programs have been proven to reduce injury and illness rates, while increasing employee morale at the more than 750 sites currently participating in the program."
Greer went on to state that the legislation, the Models of Safety and Health Excellence Act of 2001, would also encourage expansion of the program to smaller businesses.
"While there has been some debate whether small business would have the resources to qualify, we believe a committed small business operator could participate in VPP if also provided with the appropriate level of support," Greer said. "Overall, this legislation can be of benefit to employees, employers, professional safety and health organizations, government and the country overall when enacted."
The ASSE supports the creation of feasible safety and health public policies that are based on good science, sound technology and recognized professional practices. "This legislation appears to meet these important tenets necessary to generate our support," Greer said.
Additionally, several ASSE members throughout the United States work with the VPP programs. ASSE Management Practice Specialty Administrator Don Jones, of Louisiana, serves on the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants'' Association Board of Directors.
by Virginia Foran