VPPPA Hoping Congressional VPP Bills Make Progress

One has been filed in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Senate version will be filed the week of Sept. 9, VPPPA's board chairman announced.

NASHVILLE -- VPPPA Board Chairman Mike Maddox told members attending the 29th Annual National VPPPA Conference here that bills to codify OSHA's VPP program, long a priority for the VPP community, will be considered in both house of Congress this fall. House Bill 632 already has been filed in the U.S. House of Representatives and has several sponsors, he said during the Aug. 26 opening general session. Maddox said the Senate version of the legislation will be filed the week of Sept. 9, when Congress has returned from its August recess.

The session included a speech by OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels and a video greeting and message from Thomas Perez, the newly confirmed U.S. secretary of Labor, as well as a speech by Steve Hawkins, administrator of Tennessee OSHA. Hawkins praised the 38 VPP sites in Tennessee, saying their injury and illness rates are 65 percent below their peers' rates. "And every year, we talk to them and they find ways to drive that down even further," Hawkins said. "Dr. Michaels talks about I2P2, injury and illness prevention programs. In Tennessee, we consider VPP to be your I2P2 on steroids. You are your brother's keeper in VPP. We really want to see that migrate over to the entire workforce."

Michaels told the audience that preliminary numbers released by BLS last week showed the fatality rate in the upstream oil and gas exploration industry had risen by more than 20 percent from the prior year. He announced that a national safety stand-down for that industry will take place Nov. 14, with the STEPS Network of oil and gas safety professionals helping to organize it. 

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