Well, we have a nice (if rare) showing of bipartisan cooperation happening in the US House of Representatives going on.
Two senators – a Republican and a Democrat – are working together to enact a law that would codify the Voluntary Protection Program, an OSHA-sponsored program that helps acknowledge and reward sites that have gone above and beyond to implement workplace health and safety programs.
The two senators have introduced a “Voluntary Protection Program Act” into the House that would essentially codify the program, making it an actual law. The program itself goes back more than three decades but, though rarely known, is kinda unofficial.
So why do they want this codified into law? Well, they think codifying VPP program will ensure it continues in perpetuity, gets adequate funding, and is expanded to assist small business – a segment it currently underservices.
The Act, if implemented, would also provide direction for OSHA on how to better monitor, analyze and evaluate the program to ensure it is actually doing what it is supposed to do. From a number of anecdotal accounts I’ve come across, some VPP sites actually had relatively lax safety and health standards, so this could be a good move.
Right now, VPP covers more than 2,500 worksites and more than a million employees across the country. Studies have said it saves government more than $59 million annually through avoiding injuries and fatalities, and other studies indicate VPP-certified workplaces cumulatively save more than $300 million.
We’ll keep an eye in where this is going in the coming months here at the Intelex blog.