OSHA has published in the Federal Register final changes to its Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) that, among other changes, allow participation by companies with mobile workforces.

The VPP, the agency's recognition initiative for workplace safety and health excellence, will provide new options for construction contractors and other employers who may have employees at various locations. Other VPP changes for eligible organizations include a streamlined application process, outreach and mentoring, and onsite workplace evaluations.

Said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Thomas M. Stohler in a prepared statement: "These program revisions will allow more companies to participate in the VPP, which has contributed to improved workplace safety. Since 2001, participation in the VPP has increased almost 200 percent. During that same period, there has been a 14 percent decrease in workplace fatalities.”

The VPP was established in 1982 to recognize employers and employees who focus on the prevention of injuries, illnesses and fatalities through the implementation of effective safety and health management systems. Currently, there are 2,161 federal and state plan VPP participants.

Changes to the VPP are effective May 9. For more information on the VPP and these latest revisions, contact the nearest OSHA area or regional office or the OSHA National Office, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, at 202-693-2213.