The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) has promoted safety and health at worksites for more than four decades. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have implemented effective safety and health practices that keep injury and illness rates below the national average.
The VPP started as an experimental program in California in 1979. OSHA then formally announced the VPP and approved the first site in 1982. Federal worksites later became eligible for VPP in 1998.
To maintain VPP status, participants must evaluate the effectiveness of their safety and health management programs on an annual basis – by February 15 of each year.
Drastically Reduced Incidents
VPP has drastically reduced incidents among participating employers. The average VPP worksite has a Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART) case rate of 52% below the average for its industry.
OSHA also publishes the data collected from Annual Self-Evaluations submitted by VPP participants.
Here’s sample data from the 2020 VPP Annual Evaluation:
- Site-based non-construction VPP participants avoided an estimated 4,303 Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) injuries when compared to expected results within their respective industries.
- Site-based non-construction VPP participants avoided an estimated 2,501 DART injuries when compared to expected results within their respective industries.
- 577 site-based non-construction VPP participants experienced zero recordable injuries and illnesses during 2020.
How Else is VPP Benefitting Employers?
VPP status comes with a range of benefits that make the lengthy process of attaining it more than worthwhile:
- Increased profits: Fewer injuries and illnesses mean fewer compensation payouts and less downtime due to employee absences.
- Improved efficiency: Rigorous safety plans that meet OSHA’s VPP requirements can create order out of chaos – adding value beyond safety and health and creating operational efficiencies.
- Boosted employee morale: Safe and happy workers who are actively encouraged to engage in safety processes are more likely to stay with their employer.
- Inspection exemption: VPP participants are removed from OSHA’s programmed inspection list (though participants can still receive an OSHA inspection in response to severe injury, death, or employee complaints).
- Competitive advantage: VPP status demonstrates that you prioritize the highest standards of safety for your employees – adding reputational value and helping you attract safety-conscious workers.
- Industry influence: VPP sites that demonstrate excellence can influence standard practices across the industry.
Maintaining VPP Status
To maintain VPP status, participants must annually evaluate the effectiveness of their safety and health management programs. These Annual Self-Evaluations are critical to ensuring that sites maintain the high standards set by OSHA and are instrumental in driving continuous improvement. They are also thorough and must include assessments of all the VPP elements and sub-elements of the VPP participant’s safety and health management program.
Heard about the latest way VPPPA is innovating to benefit members? Learn about the VPPPA and AuditSoft partnership to create VPP Online – the new cloud-based platform for conducting Annual Self-Evaluations electronically…
VPP Online: The New Cloud-Based Platform for Conducting Annual Self-Evaluations
The traditional paper-based method for conducting Annual Self-Evaluations was time-consuming and complicated – so AuditSoft and VPPPA teamed up to digitize it. Now, VPPPA members can complete their Annual Self-Evaluations electronically using the cloud-based platform, VPP Online. VPP Online also automates many of the manual administrative tasks that come with conducting self-evaluations – like calculating injury and illness rates by NAICS code. The platform also promotes collaboration by enabling up to 20 team members to work on their self-evaluation simultaneously.
June Meeks from NuStar Energy Review VPP Online
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