Next OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs Meeting Set?

By Christine Torres

OSHA voluntary protection program meeting

The second of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) meeting on the future of the agency’s Voluntary Protection Program is set for Aug. 28 in New Orleans, Louisiana – an area beset by flooding for the past week.

The meeting, which could be canceled pending the Big Easy’s soppy weather, will report on comments and suggestions from the public on potential avenues for action in reshaping the program as well as a breakdown of notes from the July meeting, which also discussed the program.

OSHA says its aim for the program is to help continue to represent safety and health excellence, leverage partner resources, further recognize the successes of long-term participants, and support smart program growth. OSHA invites stakeholders to provide improvement ideas on process and flow, participant involvement, and special government employee activities.

Those wishing to attend must register by Aug. 23 through OSHA’s website, where comments can also be submitted. The comment period closes Sept. 15.

Adopted July 2, 1982, the Voluntary Protection Program emphasizes cooperative action among government, industry, and labor to address worker safety and health issues, and expand worker protection. It has recently run into a slate of compliance assistance funding issues as participation dwindles. Participants peaked at 1,720 in 2010, but has since declined; there were 1,395 in April, according to OSHA’s website.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

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