OSHA Administrator Outlines New Plan To Grow VPP

Sept. 11, 2003
Hoping to make good on his vision of a tenfold expansion in the number of Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) sites, Assistant Secretary of Labor John Henshaw explained how he intends to grow the program at the opening general session of the Voluntary Protection Program Participant's Association (VPPPA) annual meeting in Washington, DC.

The OSHA administrator also announced the achievement of a growth-related milestone: the certification of the 1,000th VPP site. But Henshaw has declared he wants the program to grow to include 8,000 sites, and his speech to VPPPA conference attendees this week was largely devoted to outlining a new, three-part initiative the OSHA chief believes will foster growth "without sacrificing VPP's principles of excellence."

  • VPP Challenge targets employers, especially smaller companies, willing to commit to excellence, but who need assistance in developing the safety and health management systems that are an essential part of VPP;
  • VPP Corporate eliminates redundancies in the application requirements for sites from corporations that have made a commitment to VPP;
  • VPP Construction will provide short-term construction projects with the same opportunities for recognition that fixed site employers receive.

In a press briefing for reporters, Henshaw explained that the Challenge program would entail minimal OSHA intervention, as the agency expects trade associations, VPPPA and current VPP members will act as mentors to the new companies. "The idea is to get them into the conversation, to encourage them to become VPP candidates," he said.

Henshaw also told reporters VPP Construction program is not as far along as the other two programs; he expects to launch VPP Construction in 2004.

While many details about the three new initiatives must still be worked out, Henshaw believes VPP could grow to include 4,000 sites within the next two to three years, thanks to the three new program elements as well as VPP's current growth trends. OSHA estimates this would result in covering 2 million workers, which the agency anticipates could lead to 45,000 fewer injuries and savings to companies of $1.25 billion.

Henshaw told conference attendees that "countless" lives could be saved by growing VPP and continually returned to two main points in his speech to them.

"The reason to do this is not the numbers, but the faces, the lives we impact," he asserted.

Second, Henshaw repeatedly sought to reassure his audience that his ambitious growth goals would not undermine the program's quality.

"We will hold true to the rock-solid principles that underlie the VPP program," Henshaw declared. "These will not be diluted you have my word on that."

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!