The Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association, Inc. (VPPPA) has received confirmation from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Acting Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Jordan Barab, that OSHA is not suspending the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), according to a press release issued by VPPPA.
Media coverage of Barab’s statement on April 30, 2009, before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Workforce Protections has caused some confusion for VPP sites and the safety and health community, according to the press statement. Barab stated, “We need to better utilize the resources that we already have. In order to direct more of OSHA’s existing resources into enforcement and to provide time to address concerns in an upcoming GAO Report on the efficacy of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program, I have informed the field staff that we will suspend the previous administration’s practice of establishing goals for new Voluntary Protection Program sites and Alliances.”
In response to the resulting confusion, Barab called VPPPA’s Executive Director R. Davis Layne, a former high-ranking OSHA official, and assured him that OSHA is not suspending VPP, according to the VPPPA press release. Indicated changes represent a shift in focus toward enforcement but do not equate to an elimination of OSHA’s VPP. In the course of the conversation, Barab accepted an invitation to attend the association’s 25th Annual National VPPPA Conference in San Antonio, Texas, August 24-27, 2009, and address the anticipated 2,500 attendees, according to the news release.