VPPPA Briefs Barab, Praising VPP's Contributions

The OSHA leader heard from board members and other members of the association of VPP participants this week.

OSHA chief Jordan Barab has made it clear that VPP won't be just a quota program under his watch. On July 14, board members and others representatives from the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association, Inc. (VPPPA) met with him to share their views on the value of OSHA's VPP efforts and ensure a Government Accountability Office report criticizing OSHA's administration of VPP wouldn't derail the programs.

VPPPA said Barab asked, "What exactly are you getting out of VPP?" and received several endorsements of VPP's contributions. "Prior to participating in the program, we had a flavor-of-the-month safety program. Then VPP came along and you saw immediate partnership," said Rob Henson, VPPPA board member and process technician from LyondellBasell in Channelview, Texas. "VPP provided a structure from the bottom up and provided a foundation that labor could stand behind and management needed to live up to. When we gained VPP, we gained thousands of safety and health professionals," he added, according to VPPPA's account.

VPPPA Executive Director R. Davis Layne read this from a letter addressed to Barab by L.L. Bean Inc.: "Our improved statistical results point to the fact that our employees are less likely to go home injured, and our cultural survey data shows that employees are more engaged in our VPP locations than those that have not begun implementation."

Barab told them he's getting plenty of feedback about the benefits of VPP, and he said problems identified in GAO's report had resulted from growing the program "a lot faster than we could keep track of," according to VPPPA.

Barab is scheduled to speak at the Opening General Session of the 25th Annual National VPPPA Conference, set for Aug. 24-27, 2009, in San Antonio. VPPPA said he told the group, "I'm looking forward to coming out and talking to more of your members." The parties promised to keep their communication going.

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