For the past 10 years, VPP participants have extended OSHA resources by serving as special government employees (SGE) on VPP evaluation teams.
OSHA has had nearly 300 SGE's participate in onsite reviews during this fiscal year. The agency has 414 active SGEs, said Henshaw, but OSHA's ability to expand VPP toward its goal of 8,000 participants will depend on acquiring many more SGE's.
"Instead of one SGE per team, we expect to need two or three. And if you have industrial hygiene or construction expertise, we really will need you as we grow construction and other industry participation," Henshaw told the VPPPA audience.
He said OSHA needs to double or triple the number of SGEs, and he asked every VPP participant to consider loaning an employee to OSHA for at least one review each year.
OSHA recently formed an SGE Workgroup, with participation from regional VPP managers, the OSHA Training Institute and VPPPA, to see how the SGE program can be improved. "We determined that we need to focus our efforts on improving recruitment, training and recognition," said Henshaw. "With these improvements, and your commitment, I am confident we can successfully grow the SGE program and VPP."