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VPPPA Supports GAO Recommendations for VPP

In response to the recent congressional request to review OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association Inc. (VPPPA) announced June 19 that it supports the assessment that “improved oversight and control would better ensure program quality.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) made the assessment in its May 2009 report. To learn more, read OSHA to Evaluate VPP.

“The association has always advocated the importance of a stringent approval process and thorough controls insuring the integrity of VPP,” said VPPPA Executive Director R. Davis Layne. “VPPPA welcomes the opportunity to work with OSHA to validate the important role of VPP in workplace safety and health.”

In 2004, a similar GAO report stated, “OSHA’s voluntary compliance programs appear to have yielded many positive outcomes … Employers and employees at nine worksites we visited attested to reductions in injuries and illnesses and improved relationships with one another and with OSHA.”

The recently released 2009 GAO report recommends that the Secretary of Labor direct OSHA to:

  1. Develop a documentation policy for information on actions taken by OSHA’s regions in response to fatalities and serious injuries at VPP sites.
  2. Establish internal controls that ensure consistent compliance by its regions with VPP policies.
  3. Develop goals and performance measures for the VPP.

Appropriate funding of VPP would address the recommendations made by the GAO. The association pointed out that President Obama has proposed over $563 million for OSHA’s FY 2010 budget, with an increase of approximately $45 million for federal enforcement and an increase of nearly $2 million for federal compliance assistance.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab has accepted VPPPA’s invitation to speak at the 25th Annual National VPPPA Conference this August in San Antonio, Texas. VPPPA looks forward to Barab’s comments and proposals in response to the 2009 GAO report and welcomes the opportunity to work with OSHA to ensure that only qualified worksites participate in VPP, the association said.

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