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Achieving Safety Excellence with VPPPA Membership

Contributor: Son Nguyen – Membership Manager, VPPPA

We often get the question – “Do I need to be pursuing VPP Star status to be a member of VPPPA?” or “If my company is no longer a VPP participant, why should I continue my membership?” The answer is: VPPPA’s mission is to advance health and safety excellence through collaboration, mentorship, and education to raise the standard for a safe & healthy workplace. Our goal is to make safety a core value for every employer and every employee, no matter what your status is.

We all know the benefits of an effective safety and health program. Besides just being the right thing to do, it keeps employees safe, and it saves a company a lot of money. If you talk to other safety and health VPP leaders, they will address productivity, quality, and taking care of people; VPP sites are models. However, it’s more about culture above everything else.

VPP has been called the “gold standard” for safety and health management systems. However, some companies are not ready to reach that peak yet, but they still want to work toward the goal of operating at the highest level of safety. We’ve gotten questions on how to maintain that “gold standard” even if VPP isn’t the right fit for your company. Membership within VPPPA provides different roads to take, while still arriving at the same destination: a safer and healthier workplace.

Safety+ Symposium

For over 30 years, the VPPPA Safety+ Symposium is the only national educational event for VPP worksites to achieve and maintain safety and health excellence. Attendees will have a unique opportunity to interact and directly learn from other safety professionals, industry leaders, and federal agencies. Interaction with these safety professionals will help improve your company’s safety program through educational seminars, round-table discussions, and collaboration with other industry professionals.

  • westwardly Stay ahead of regulatory trends
    • These trends have a direct impact on how you’re expected to implement safety. Federal and state leadership provide insight into how regulatory organizations operate, which gives you an understanding of how regulatory changes come about and why.
  • Networking
    • Safety professionals from a wide variety of industries attend Safety+ and build lasting collaborative relationships. You’ll gain tools for establishing and/or maintaining a safe work environment, whether your company employs 5 employees or 5000 employees.
  • Exciting memories
    • Have a fun time while attending educational workshops, networking with peers, and evening receptions.


VPPPA members help other sites reach the highest level of occupational safety and health performance through our mentoring program. The VPPPA mentoring program pairs sites that have achieved Star status with sites that are just starting their VPP journey, need additional program guidance, or are looking to improve best practices at their facilities. A mentor understands the frustrations and setbacks as well as the milestones, triumphs, realities, and successes.


  • VPPPA’s eLearning Toolbox helps safety professionals raise the standard for a safe and healthy workplace through professional development, innovation, and sharing of best practices among sites and companies engaged in world-class EHS&S practices. The goal of VPPPA’s eLearning Toolbox is to provide resources to safety & health professionals that continuously work to advance safety & health excellence.
  • Our live webinar program strives to offer the content you need most, accessible from anywhere. Now more than ever, online education has proven to be a vital resource.
  • ​The Leader, our award-winning quarterly magazine, provides in-depth information and guidance on the most crucial issues that affect our members to help them stay informed. We dedicate each issue to an important occupational safety and health subject. Alongside a wide range of articles exploring the specific topic, members can find updates on the Association’s activities, including educational and networking events near you.

I believe we can all agree that we’d love to see worksites achieve continuous improvement toward their occupational safety and health goals; and experience fewer workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. VPPPA is here to help you achieve those goals. Please feel free to contact membership@vpppa.org with any questions.

Jacqueline "Jackie" Annis is an industrial hygienist with the Office of Partnerships and Recognition, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs in OSHA’s National Office.  Jackie’s primary responsibilities include developing and overseeing internal policies and procedures for the VPP, reviewing VPP on-site evaluation reports for process safety management information, serving as the National Office liaison for two of OSHA’s ten Regions, and facilitating the management of OSHA’s National Strategic Partnership Program.  She is an integral part of OSHA’s National Office team. 

She has served with the Agency for 36 years, including five years as a senior industrial hygienist in OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement, Directorate of Enforcement Programs in the National Office and 17 years as a compliance safety and health officer in the Denver, CO Area Office.  Prior to her tenure at OSHA, Jackie worked as an industrial hygienist for the Department of the Navy in Alameda, California.  Jackie obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 1983.

Wayne Howard earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis and has spent 12 years with Shell (at Martinez) refinery, 3 years with the consulting firm Process Safety, 15 years with Valero (at Benicia), and the last 10 years in the Corporate Process Safety Department. He is the Valero representative to AFPM's Advancing Process Safety Initiative.

Nathan Obaugh, PE is a senior engineer in the Safety and Operational Excellence Group at NuStar Energy. Nathan has over 10 years of PSM and process design experience in the petrochemical, refining and midstream industries. At NuStar, Nathan oversees all elements of the corporate PSM program and works directly on hazard analysis, process safety studies, PSM/RMP audits and provides process engineering support to the operations and capital projects groups.

Jared Teter, PhD is a senior staff scientist with a background in physics and hazards analysis. He has extensive experience in subscale testing of energetic materials and has served as program manager for several large testing and risk management projects. He has applied engineering and risk management protocols while evaluating the risk associated with propellant and explosives manufacturing, combustible dust, and other hazardous material related processes.

Tim Belitz has a degree in Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene from Old Dominion University and a Master’s from Duke University. He has over 25 years of Industrial Health Safety and Environmental Experience and is a Certified Safety Professional. He has many years focused on Contractor Management and Process Safety programs.

Rob Walker graduated from Virginia Tech in Microbiology and Chemical Engineering. Rob has almost 35 years of experience working in the chemical plant and refining industry. His passion for Process Safety and Mechanical Integrity began very early in his career. Rob began with his current company, Honeywell, back in 2011.

Prasad Joshi has B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Chemical Engineering from two universities in India. Prasad has over 30 years’ experience in the business. He began with Honeywell in May 2022 as Principal Maintenance Engineer. He has worked internationally in Asia and Europe.