Take advantage of VPPPA’s scholarships and awards programs! Did you know we recognize VPP sites for the contributions they have made to their communities and to the safety and health field? Did you know that VPPPA offers scholarships that are only open to VPPPA members and their family members? Spread the word! Post VPPPA award and scholarship information in break rooms at your site so others may be made aware of these opportunities.

Some 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, and four plus the District of Columbia have legalized the drug for recreational use and more are likely to follow. Both kinds of legalization have given rise to a powerful commercial industry that is pursuing more customers to make more money. This creates two sets of problems for employers: increased marijuana use—and all the costs this brings in the form of accidents and lost productivity—and costly litigation. It is impossible to predict how much use will go up since no modern jurisdiction has ever allowed for-profit companies to produce and promote recreational marijuana before Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia did so.

One challenge faced by companies is getting employee safety training to stick. Several VPP-approved sites are employing interactive training methods to encourage a higher level of engagement, improve training oversight and strengthen project safety culture. Interactive training methods—often referred to as simulator, mock-up or scenario-based training—immerse employees in an environment they can experience, rather than read about.

In an unexpected move, Congress paved the way for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to increase its monetary penalties for the first time since 1990. The federal budget agreement passed in late October contains provisions for the agency to increase maximum fines to make up for previous inflation in the intervening 25 years. It also provides for annual increases to match subsequent inflation.

Falls Church, VA – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strengthened the Special Government Employee (SGE) Program for its Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). In a July 30, 2015, update to the guiding document for the program, OSHA expanded the role of SGEs in VPP evaluations, allowing the agency to make greater use of VPP company expertise.