ASSE: Allow Stakeholders to Weigh in on VPP

June 24, 2009
In his comments regarding the recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report criticizing OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) President Warren K. Brown stressed that ASSE members and other key stakeholders must be given the chance to help identify improvements in the program.

The GAO report, “OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs: Improved Oversight and Controls Would Better Ensure Program Quality,” was released June 18 and recommended that OSHA strengthen VPP’s oversight activity, documentation and other aspects of program operations to ensure consistency and adherence to existing OSHA policies and procedures.

“ASSE has long urged Congress to allow for third party audits by qualified safety and health professionals to help encourage employer compliance with OSHA standards,” Brown said. “Where the quality of an employer's safety and health management systems may be at issue, the training and experience of a safety and health professional would be useful both to an employer and OSHA in ensuring adherence to VPP requirements.”

According to Brown, ASSE members understand the value of VPP and urge OSHA to take steps now to increase program oversight and results management. The experience and expertise of ASSE members, he explained, could help in the process.

“ASSE also urges OSHA to bring together ASSE’s members and other stakeholders to help identify opportunities to improve oversight and strengthen VPP’s impact on worker safety and health,” said Brown.

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