OSHA Administrator Ed Foulke unveiled the new initiative which OSHA is calling the Mobile Workforce VPP Demonstration for Construction at the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Safety and Health Committee mid-year meeting in Denver.
"VPP is a good tool for increasing safety and health awareness within the industry," Foulke told ACG attendees. "It is important for OSHA to recognize those construction companies that should be held up as models of safety and health for the rest of the industry."
The Mobile Workforce VPP Demonstration for Construction will join VPP Corporate Pilot and OSHA Challenge Pilot as the newest component of OSHA's VPP, which recognizes and promotes effective health and safety management systems.
"This initiative aims to provide the mobile construction work force and short term projects with the same opportunity for recognition that fixed-site employers receive," Foulke said. "We believe our proposal has the potential to significantly contribute to reductions in injuries, illnesses and fatalities in one of the nation's most hazardous industries."
The new demonstration is based on the agency's VPP experience as well as successes garnered through the construction-related Mobile Workforce and Short-Term Construction Star Demonstration Programs, Foulke noted.
The core of the initiative continues to rest on the principle of effective safety and health management systems. However, it is unique from traditional VPP programs in that it adds new procedures and requirements that recognize the unique aspects of the construction industry. For example, the program allows for participation at the company, division or business-unit levels.
VPP is OSHA's premier cooperative program, with about 1,400 workplaces currently participating. VPP worksites save millions each year because their injury and illness rates are more than 50 percent below the averages for their industries. Approval into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health programs.