Congress Revives VPP Bill

Posted March 16, 2017 at 6:28 pm

Several U.S. House members recently reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would strengthen and make permanent OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), according to news reports.

Reps. Todd Rokita (R-IN), Gene Green (D-TX) and Martha Roby (R-AL) praised the agency’s program as one that offers “sound policy that is not only good for employers and employees, but the American economy overall,” Rep. Rokita said in a March 9 news release. He added that he’s seen first-hand the positive impact that VPP can have on companies and communities.

“I’ve seen across Indiana the successes of VPP at worksites like Cintas in Frankfort, and RR Donnelly and Nucor in Crawfordsville,” Rep. Rokita said. “Rather than promoting a ‘Washington knows best’ approach, VPP works with the private sector to create safe work environments.”

The Voluntary Protection Program Act, HR 1444, would lock in a long-term commitment to OSHA’s program, which recognizes worksites that have exemplary occupational health and safety records. To qualify for VPP, worksites must implement safety and health management systems that yield below-average injury and illness rates. Successful worksites involved in VPP then gain exemption from OSHA inspections.

More than 2,200 worksites covering roughly 900,000 employees have participated in VPP since its inception in 1982. Cintas Corp. alone has more than 40 VPP sites. The VPP Act would codify the program, meaning Congress couldn’t withdraw its funding.

The legislation is now before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

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