OSHA has revised requirements for participating in its 18-year-old Voluntary Protection Program. More than 600 worksites are enrolled in the program, which promotes safety and health innovation and excellence. Participants have overall lost-workday rates 50 percent below the industry average.

Among the changes announced:

  • VPP eligibility has been extended to resident contractors at participating VPP sites.

  • To be eligible, a site must not have open investigations or pending or open contested citations or notices under appeal. Previously, only willful violations during the past three years disqualified a site.

  • Sites must now report a combined injury and illness rate. At Star sites (the most prestigious program), the three-year injury/illness incidence rate for total recordable cases and the three-year incidence rate for lost-workday cases must be below the industry average.

  • Requirements for contract worker health and safety at VPP sites have been strengthened, with new requirements for reporting contractor injury and illness rates being added.

  • Employee involvement and worksite analysis requirements have been strengthened and clarified.

  • VPP’s previous six elements have been merged into the four elements of OSHA’s 1989 voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines: Management Leadership and Employee Involvement; Worksite Analysis; Hazard Prevention and Control; and Safety and Health Training.

  • At unionized sites, all authorized collective bargaining representatives must agree on VPP participation. In the past, such agreement was needed only at sites where a “significant portion” of employees worked within a collective bargaining unit.

  • OSHA may terminate a VPP site if there is evidence that trust among labor, management, and OSHA no longer exists.