Workplace safety can be punitive or a partnership. With the support of Senator Steve Smith and Governor Doug Ducey, Arizona has firmly planted its foot on the path of partnerships with businesses rather than penalties.

The Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) oversees workplace safety through the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH). Within ADOSH there are two paths to safety: compliance or consultation. As one can guess, compliance approaches safety through fines, penalties, and inspections. Consultation, on the other hand, is a collaborative process without citations where businesses ask ADOSH to come in and help them achieve the highest safety standards. Partnership programs, such as the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), are operated through ADOSH's Consultation Department and were protected in SB1478.

Behind Senator Smith's legislation, SB1478, Arizona became only the second state in the nation to protect VPP. This legislation, which cleared many legislative hurdles, was continuously revived by VPP partners who knew firsthand how important these programs are. This legislation will protect not only VPP, but all of the ICA's Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) partnership programs that benefit employers of all sizes and employees in both the private and public sector.

"We want more companies to partner with us and embrace a culture of self-compliance", said ICA Chairman Dale Schultz. Continuing, Chairman Schultz stated, "I want the ICA to be a part of the economic engine that attracts businesses to Arizona and SB1478 sends the signal to employers that Arizona is a state where we prefer to work with, not against, businesses for better results."

ICA Director James Ashley stated, "We are very proud to have the support of the legislature and Governor Ducey of our consultation programs. There is a profound difference and benefit in how our consultation partners operate and we want to give them the assurance that we'll be there for them."

VPP was recently referred to as "the best kept secret" during testimony on Capitol Hill. The ICA has been pushing for greater resources behind consultation programs, so that what is being accomplished isn't a secret anymore.   

When one looks at the results of what VPP partners are achieving, it is no surprise that VPP partners strongly supported this legislation.

  • Johns Manville, a manufacturing facility in Tucson, has an injury rate 80% below the national average for their industry.
  • Printpack, a VPP partner in Prescott Valley operating 24 hours a day with more than 120 employees, has not recorded an injury in 808 days as of April 20th, 2017.
  • Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson became a partner in 2007 and has since seen a 30% reduction in recordable injuries. This equates to 200 injuries being prevented.

All this is achieved through partnership with ADOSH and benefits the bottom line of these businesses through greatly reduced workers' compensation costs while boosting worker morale and productivity.

Dan Lazorcak, Director of Global Health, Safety and Environmental at VPP partner Honeywell and Director-at-large of the Voluntary Protection Program Participants' Association (VPPPA) stated, "VPPPA salutes Arizona on its clear commitment to its Voluntary Protection Program. VPP encourages employers, employees and regulators to work together to share best practices in workplace safety. VPP saves lives, and Arizona is wise to embrace VPP."

If your company or a company you know of is looking to lower workers' compensation costs while boosting worker morale and productivity.