VPP Introduction Challenge for the Future of Safety Developed from VPP website information What is VPP The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) are designed to recognize and promote effective safety and health management. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish a cooperative relationship at a workplace that has implemented a strong program. Management agrees to operate an effective program that meets an established set of criteria. Employees agree to participate in the program and work with management to assure a safe and healthful workplace. OSHA initially verifies that the program meets the VPP criteria. Then publicly recognize the site's exemplary program, and removes the site from routine scheduled inspection lists (OSHA may still investigate major accidents, valid formal employee complaints, and chemical spills) OSHA also reassesses periodically to confirm that the site continues to meet VPP criteria (every three years for the Star program; every year for the merit program) The VPP concept recognizes that compliance enforcement alone can never fully achieve the objectives of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Good safety management programs that go beyond OSHA standards can protect workers more effectively than simple compliance. VPP Program Levels VPP are comprised of program elements that have been demonstrated to reduce the incidence and severity of workplace illnesses and injuries at worksites where these programs are an integral part of daily operations. To reach each level, OSHA must approve of your program. Demonstration The Demonstration Program allows evaluation of criteria different from, but potentially as protective for workers as the Star criteria. The purpose of this program is to demonstrate that these criteria do protect workers and thus to broaden the repertoire of safety and health initiatives. Merit The Merit Program provides a planned set of "stepping stones" to Star participation for those employers who have demonstrated the potential and willingness to achieve Star requirements. Star The Star Program is the most highly selective program and is for applicants with occupational safety and health programs that are comprehensive and are successful in reducing workplace hazards. OSHA expects that Star participants will be on the leading edge of hazard prevention methods and technology and that participants will show continuous improvement in their safety and health programs. What are the Benefits? The following benefits have been cited by current VPP participants: o Improved employee motivation to work safely, leading to better quality and productivity o Reduced workers' compensation costs o Recognition in the community o Improvement of programs that are already good, through the internal and external review that's part of the VPP application process o VPP participant sites generally experience from 60 to 80 percent fewer lost workday injuries than would be expected of an "average" site of the same size in their industries Won’t this increase my paperwork load? The VPP application process is designed to be rigorous, to assure that only the best programs qualify. But VPP reviewers don't look for a single correct way to meet VPP requirements: They want to see a system that works for you. Some successful programs involve a lot of written documentation, while others do not. There is some paperwork required in the application process, but we encourage you to use as much existing material as possible. The VPP coordinator in your region can help you with questions about what might be required. Will my program qualify OSHA offers a Self-Assessment in the VPP information kit. You can use the checklist to see if your program meets VPP criteria. Make corrections where needed before you begin the application process. How Do I Join You must submit a written application to OSHA. The application guideline is included in the VPP information kit. After your written application has been reviewed by OSHA, an Onsite Review will be scheduled. "What Happens When OSHA Comes Onsite", found in the VPP information kit, describes the onsite review. The website publication “What to Expect During OSHA’s Visit” will also be helpful. Where to get more Information The VPP Coordinator in your OSHA Regional Office can provide you with a VPP information kit and can help you with any questions that you might have. The VPPPA organization has further information. Insurance agencies and consultants may be able to assist. Benefits of Participating in VPP Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) participants establish and maintain excellent safety and health programs in their workplaces that are recognized by OSHA as models for their industries. Cooperative interaction with OSHA gives companies the opportunity to provide OSHA with input on safety and health matters and to provide industry with models of effective means for accomplishing workplace safety and health objectives. Participants are not subject to routine OSHA inspections, because OSHA's VPP onsite reviews ensure that their safety and health programs provide superior protection. Establishing and maintaining safety and health programs on the VPP model are reflected in substantially lower than average worker injury rates at VPP worksites.