Washington – Noting the success of the Voluntary Protection Programs, two lawmakers on Feb. 13 introduced bipartisan legislation to establish the program as a permanent fixture at OSHA.
H.R. 632, introduced by Reps. Tom Petri (R-WI) and Gene Green (D-TX), would codify VPP and expand it to include more small businesses. VPP recognizes employers with effective safety management programs, as well as injury and illness rates below the industry average. Employers in the program are exempt from routine OSHA inspections. The Department of Labor currently is not required by law to run VPP, and the program is subject to possible elimination due to budget cuts.
In a statement, the legislators noted VPP’s unique support among unions and non-unionized labor, and how the program provides a balanced approach between businesses and OSHA.
Similar legislation was introduced in previous Congresses but never passed out of committee.