The VPP emphasizes combined efforts by management, craft employees and union representatives to identify and eliminate unsafe working conditions and practices to reduce the number and severity of job-related injuries and illnesses. The Postal Service currently has 20 work sites participating in the VPP program and expects to add 65 more by the end of fiscal year 2005.
VPP Corporate streamlines the application and onsite evaluation processes and eliminates redundant documentation of effective safety and health management systems for multiple sites within the same corporation.
"Safety and health add value to our lives, to our workplace and to our business," said Postmaster General John E. Potter during a VPP Corporate ceremony at Postal Service headquarters. "It's a triple win: Our employees benefit, the organization benefits and the country benefits. He added the VPP Corporate pilot initiative is a driving force for the continued safety and health of the more than 700,000 career postal employees working at more than 37,000 facilities nationwide.
According to OSHA Administrator Jonathan Snare, the Postal Service was accepted to VPP Corporate after a comprehensive evaluation of its safety and health management systems at its headquarters in Washington. The evaluation included key aspects of the Postal Service's safety and health policies, programs and records, as well as interviews with senior managers, executives and union officials. Also key to VPP Corporate approval was the scope and strength of the Postal Service's internal preparation and prescreening processes to ensure VPP readiness at postal sites prior to OSHA onsite evaluations.
"The Postal Service, as a designated VPP Corporate pilot participant, is testament to the commitment of the USPS to VPP and worker safety and health," Snare said.
In approving Postal Service acceptance into the VPP Corporate pilot program, OSHA officials congratulated the agency on six areas of excellence:
- Management and union safety leadership;
- Safety Toolkit, a comprehensive online safety information, management and tracking system;
- National Performance Assessment, which includes a safety performance scorecard;
- Performance Evaluation Guide, which evaluates and tracks worksite safety and health improvements;
- Training programs; and
- Data tracking systems.
Since the baseline year of 2001, successful Postal Service safety leadership efforts have resulted in a 36-percent reduction in the total number of OSHA injuries and illnesses. In fiscal year 2004, total OSHA illnesses and injuries were reduced by 17 percent compared to the previous year a reduction of more than 8,000 illnesses and injuries.
VPP Corporate, along with OSHA Challenge and the USPS Ergonomic Strategic Partnership, are three initiatives the Postal Service and its unions have implemented to work cooperatively with OSHA to improve employee workplace safety and health.