A new line up of program initiatives will expand the benefits of the Voluntary Protection Program, protecting the safety and health of thousands more workers across the nation, Assistant Secretary of Labor John Henshaw told attendees of the Voluntary Protection Programs Participant's Association conference.
"Expanding VPP allows us to reach out to more employees across the country, wherever they are on the ladder of safety and health excellence," said Henshaw. "These new initiatives will add to our existing portfolio of VPP programs, greatly multiply program participation and markedly improve workplace safety and health across this country."
The three new VPP initiatives will not affect the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) current VPP program, including the STAR and Merit levels of recognition.
VPP Challenge will be a flexible program designed to reach and assist companies who are willing to make a commitment to excellence, but need assistance in developing effective safety and health management systems. VPP Challenge will be an ideal vehicle for increasing small business participation in VPP by providing more focus and support for small business owners to implement VPP principles in their facilities. Employers will be given incentives, including recognition, for incremental improvements in their management systems.
VPP Corporate will streamline the application review and onsite evaluation processes for corporations that have made a commitment to VPP. The initiative will focus on eliminating redundancy in the application requirements for sites from the same corporation. The initiative also will require participating corporations to provide mentoring and outreach to other corporations.
The VPP Construction initiative will be designed to meet the unique characteristics and needs of the construction industry. The initiative aims to provide the mobile construction workforce and short-term projects with the same opportunity for recognition that fixed site employers receive. OSHA intends to develop and launch VPP Construction next year.