VPPPA: Despite Budget Concerns, VPP Will Continue to Thrive

Following the release of the OSHA FY 2011 budget request, which proposes reduced funding for compliance assistance programs, the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association Inc. (VPPPA) produced a video message stressing that the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) will continue to thrive even as the agency’s focus turns to enforcement.

The proposed budget foresees a $3 million decrease in funding for compliance assistance. During a Feb. 1 live chat, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced that OSHA would take additional funding away from VPP to redirect toward enforcement. However, both Solis and OSHA Administrator David Michaels stated their support for VPP and confirmed the value they see in the program. Michaels also has invited VPPPA to work with OSHA in finding innovative ways of funding the program.

In the video message to the members of VPPPA and the safety and health community, Executive Director R. Davis Layne explained that the association appreciates the opportunity to work closely with OSHA in ensuring that this one-of-a-kind safety and health management system will continue to thrive and provide America with safer and healthier worksites. Furthermore, Congress has the authority to restore funding for VPP and many VPP sites already have contacted their congressional representatives to voice their concerns. This has received favorable responses and statements of support.

“During my 35 years with OSHA, I’ve seen this happen many times,” Layne said in the video message. “Support for government programs comes and goes, but in the end, it all evens out. I’m confident that this will be resolved.”

Regardless of OSHA’s current focus, VPP is a safety and health management system that will continue to benefit participating worksites through lower injury and illness rates, lower workers’ compensation costs, increased productivity, increased communication between workers and management and an overall improved moral.

“VPP is more than a recognition program; it establishes a safety and health culture at your worksite,” said Layne. “We encourage you to keep up your efforts of continuous improvement. VPPPA regional and national conferences offer excellent opportunities to share best practices to improve safety and health for your worksite, keeping the American workforce safe and healthy, which is the only thing that counts at the end of the day.”

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