Occupational safety and health professionals accustomed to hearing management say, “Show me the money,” have a lot to show when proposing the adoption of an OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), according to R. Davis Layne.

As Executive Director of VPPs Participants’ Association, Layne has the figures to back up his claim that a strong business case can be made for VPP implementation in cash-strapped businesses.

“You’re always hearing about the bottom line. You’re always going to your employer, defending your case.”

Layne’s presentation during AIHce 2011, “A Model for Safety and Health Program Excellence that works,” cited examples such as GE, which attributes cost savings of $65.1 million a year to VPP. IBM, FritoLay, Dell, Delta, Sunoco, WasteManagement, Raytheon, Johnson & Johnson and NASA all have VPP in their workplaces.

Smaller companies have also registered savings. Welco Lumber Mill had $274,000 in workers compensation costs in 2000 and only $10,000 in 2004 – due to the company’s participation in VPP.

Welco experienced other benefits, too. Injuries such as sprained wrists and torn muscles virtually disappeared from the workplace, and productivity increased by 28% -- a common occurrence, said Layne.

“VPP is a ‘force multiplier’. At VPP sites, there’s a culture change. Those workers understand that it’s all about them going home, as a whole, healthy person, at the end of the day.” Labor-management relations inevitably improve.

Layne said that when he was the OSHA regional manager in Atlanta, his office used to have “knock-down, drag out fights” with International Paper, culminating in multiple citations and fine assessments. “But IP took a step back and did a two-year comparison of 50 VPP versus 124 non-VPP sites.” The company discovered that if all of its sites had been VPP, 18% of recordable incidents and 45% of lost workday cases would have been prevented.

Companies aren’t the only entities to experience the financial benefits of VPP. A study done by the Department of Defense (which is not under OSHA’s jurisdiction and so has its own VPP) found that its VPP saves taxpayers $75,000 to $8.8 million per site. Big savings from VPPs (5/17)