30th Annual National VPPPA Conference Opens with Awards and More

VPPPA Board Chairman Mike Maddox and other board members remarked on the association's strong growth since a total of 30 people participated in its inaugural conference in Washington, D.C., in 1984.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The smooth sounds of a jazz combo greeted attendees of the 30th Annual National VPPPA Conference as they arrived to listen to the Opening General Session speakers Aug. 25 on the conference's official first day. The Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center is the site for the conference through Aug. 28, and VPPPA Board Chairman Mike Maddox and other board members remarked on the association's strong growth since a total of 30 people participated in its inaugural conference in Washington, D.C., in 1984.

OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels was on hand to address the audience and to award the 2014 Special Government Employee of the Year Award to Mike Murphy of Ply Gem (Kearney, Mo.) in VPPPA's Region VII. Two former assistant secretaries for OSHA, John Henshaw and Charles Jeffress, also participated in this year's conference.

Michaels congratulated VPPPA on its impressive growth and said he's attended every annual national conference held since he became OSHA's chief in 2009. He asked the attendees -- safety and health professionals, front-line supervisors, CEOs, and others -- to reach out to companies large and small and inform them that investing in safety and health is good for all, including their companies' bottom line. "It's about growing a culture, not simply having a safety and health management system and seeing whether it works," Michaels said. He said NSC estimates occupational injuries impose a $200 billion cost annually and added, "Explain to other employers that this is money they could be saving by employing best safety and health practices."

He announced that OSHA and NIOSH have jointly created a new document of recommended practices for staffing agencies and employers of temporary workers. Staffing agencies and employers should work together, Michaels said; OSHA wants temps' contracts to list safety practices they should observe, and the contracts should define the host employer's and the staffing agency's responsibilities, he added.

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