OSHA reported at the annual meeting of the Voluntary Protection Program Participants Association (VPPPA) held August 25-28 in National Harbor, MD, outside of Washington, DC that as of July 2014, there were 2,293 active Voluntary Protection Program participants, protecting more than 875,000 workers. That number includes federal OSHA and state OSHA plan VPP approvals.
Fewer federal sites
As of July, there were 1,534 federally-approved VPP sites, down from a high of 1,720 in 2010. OSHA administrator Dr. David Michaels has blamed budget constraints as a reason for the federal VPP site fall-off.
Texas by far is the leading state for federally-approved VPP sites, with 332. Pennsylvania has 117, Ohio 108 and Louisiana 106.
Seventy-five percent of federal VPP sites are non-union, with 25 percent unionized.
The chemical industry has almost 100 more federal VPP sites (242) than any other industry. The utility industry has the next highest number – 144. Heavy manufacturing continues to lag in VPP numbers – the machinery industry has only 38 federal sites and fabricated metals has 58.
Rust Belt v. Sunbelt
VPP at the federal level continues to have its strongest participation in the largely non-unionized Sunbelt, while traditional organized labor strongholds in the Rust Belt lag markedly behind in engagement. Unions at the national HQ level have long withheld support for VPP due to concerns over the program’s inspection exemption allowances and union preference for an emphasis on enforcement over voluntary compliance.