OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program has grown from three work sites in 1983 to nearly 750, and now legislation has been introduced in Congress to guarantee the VPP a stable future by amending the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to codify the program.

The "Models of Safety and Health Excellence Act of 2001" is sponsored by Rep. Thomas Petri (R-WI) and Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ).

VPP sites meet high, voluntary standards for management support, employee involvement, and hazard assessment and control, and average injury and illness rates that are 52 percent below their industry norms.

Though popular in recent years, VPP has critics in labor circles, and codifying VPP into the OSH Act is a means of protecting the program from future twists in the political winds.