United States Senators from both sides of the aisle are working together to try to make OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) a permanent part of federal occupational safety and health law. A bill introduced by Republican Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, would codify the popular program that encourages worksites to go beyond compliance regulations to boost worker well-being.
Noted Bennet, “VPP is a proven model that encourages labor and management to work together to ensure [safety] across the country. This legislation would allow VPP to continue conducting its successful and cost-effective work to improve health and safety in workplaces.” Enzi called VPP “a proven program that can protect the health and safety of employees while saving the government and private sector hundreds of millions of dollars by avoiding injuries and illness.”
Other legislative attempts have been made over the years to codify VPP, including by Enzi and Bennet. In the spring of 2016, the senators co-sponsored similar federal legislation.
Since VPP was introduced in 1982 it has grown to include some 2,000 sites. VPP recognizes employees, managers, and businesses that use best practices to go above and beyond OSHA minimum requirements to enhance workplace safety and health. The U.S. Department of Labor has estimated that VPP saves millions of taxpayer dollars annually because injury and illness rates of participating organizations are significantly below industry averages.