DES PLAINES, IL (July 17, 2012) – American Society of Safety Engineers’ President Richard A. Pollock, CSP, said, “All of OSHA should be VPP,” in commending Rep. Timothy L. Walberg, chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on Workforce Protections’ Committee on Education and the Workforce, for holding a hearing “Promoting Safe Workplaces Through Voluntary Protection Programs” June 27 in Washington, DC.
OSHA’s Dr. Michaels and ASSE President Pollock at Safety 2012 in Denver.
In stating ASSE’s strong support for OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) in a recent letter to Rep. Walberg, ASSE also urged the Subcommittee not to overlook a key factor in VPP’s success, the requirement that VPP participants have in place injury and illness prevention plans (I2P2), and to consider that an OSHA standard requiring all employers to have in place an I2P2 program as employers are required to have under VPP may be the only way that OSHA’s overall approach to workplace regulation can be in line with how the best employers achieve safety.
“A well written OSHA I2P2 standard that truly causes a shift to risk-based approaches to safety and health among all employers can change the overall focus of OSHA’s work away from ensuring employer adherence to inflexible standards that too often lead to nitpicky enforcement efforts,” Pollock said. “The current disconnect between how OSHA encourages employer commitment to safety and health and how the best employers achieve safety and health can be bridged.”
ASSE also urged the subcommittee to move forward with codification of the program so it can become a permanent part of OSHA’s effort to help ensure the safety of this nation’s workers; backed continued research into the effectiveness of all OSHA programs; and stated its general agreement with OSHA that incentives designed to discourage workers from reporting injuries cannot be part of VPP.
“Even the most minimal levels of safety are not achieved when workers fear or are discouraged from reporting injuries. Appropriate incentives need to encourage workers to engage in safe practices,” Pollock said.
According to OSHA, VPP was created in 1982. It recognizes and partners with businesses and worksites that show excellence in occupational safety and health. Sites are committed to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards. VPP participants develop and implement systems to effectively identify, evaluate, prevent, and control occupational hazards to prevent employee injuries and illnesses. As a result, the average VPP worksite has a lost workday incidence rate at least 50 percent below the average of its industry, according to OSHA.
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 34,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental. Go to http://www.asse.org/professionalaffairs_new/communications/federal/ for a full copy of the letter and to http://edworkforcehouse.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=99to see the hearing.
Contact: Diane Hurns, ASSE PR, 847-768-3413, firstname.lastname@example.org