Bills Filed to Codify VPP
Companion bills in the U.S. Senate and House were welcomed by VPPPA Executive Director R. Davis Layne.
Two bills that would codify OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs were filed April 13. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the Voluntary Protection Program Act (S.807) with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who chairs the Senate Small Business Committee. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., senior Republican on the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, and Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, introduced the companion bill, H.R.1511.
The bills are meant to ensure VPP continues to be funded when federal budgets are being squeezed and reduced. Advocates say VPP has improved safety and health at more than 2,500 U.S. work sites with about 1 million employees, saving the government more than $59 million and the private sector more than $300 million, according to VPPPA.
"The Voluntary Protection Programs have encouraged a culture of health and safety in the workplace that saved the government and private sector millions of dollars by avoiding injuries and illness," said Enzi. "And in this economy, every little bit helps. As a former small business owner myself, I understand that maintaining a safe workplace is just as important as turning a profit."
"The number one responsibility of any employer is providing a safe workplace for its employees," Landrieu said. "The VPP is a great example of how the right public-private partnership can succeed in reducing accidents at work, but these partnerships are not a replacement for stricter mandatory workplace safety guidelines, especially in dangerous occupations."
Green said VPP "is one of the few programs that has achieved unified support from both union and non-unionized labor, small and large businesses, and government. I am proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to codify this important safety program that saves money while protecting workers. In Texas alone, 327 work sites participate in this program that employ, in total, over 50,000 workers."
VPPPA, the VPP Participants' Association, Inc., is an association representing sites that are participating in VPP or pursuing VPP status. "On behalf of VPPPA, I'd like to thank Sens. Enzi and Landrieu and Reps. Petri and Green for introducing this crucial legislation," said VPPPA Executive Director R. Davis Layne. "VPP reduces injuries and illnesses, increases competitiveness and productivity, saves money for businesses and taxpayers and, more than anything, it saves lives. I'm confident that our members will reach out to President Obama and to their congressional representatives in support of the Senate and House bills."