May 21, 2015 Issues: Economy and Jobs

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May 21, 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN), a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, along with Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Martha Roby (R-AL), introduced bipartisan legislation to make permanent a key voluntary workplace safety program.

The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Act would codify the VPP program, a successful partnership between private industry and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was created in 1982 but never authorized in law.  The program requires implementation of comprehensive health and safety worksite protocols, which when certified compliant by OSHA, yields fewer injuries and illnesses and allows agency officials to focus on higher risk workplaces.

"VPP has been a great success in Indiana, including worksites like Cintas in Frankfort and Nucor in Crawfordsville.  It is one federal program that works well, fostering cooperation between private businesses and a government regulator," said Rep. Rokita.  "Instead of heavy-handed government regulation, this program engages the private sector to create safe work environments.  This collaboration is good for employees, employers, and the American economy.  I want to thank Representatives Green and Roby for their leadership on this issue and their continued commitment to this sensible workplace safety program."

"The Voluntary Protection Program is one of the few programs that has achieved unified support from both union and non-unionized labor, small and large businesses, and government, " said Rep. Green.  "I am proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to codify this important safety program that saves money while protecting workers. In Texas alone, 317 worksites participate in this program that employ tens of thousands of workers."

Rep. Roby, who has been a forceful advocate for more sensible workplace policies, said codifying the VPP is a good move for workers and for businesses. "We all want to ensure worker safety, and VPP seeks to achieve that through partnerships, not penalties. VPP helps companies become compliant with workplace safety rules on the front end to avoid costly fines and harmful penalties on the back end. VPP is a smart way to ensure a safe and productive workplace, and I’m proud to be a part of this bipartisan legislation to finally codify it," said Rep. Roby.

The VPP was created in 1982.  Currently more than 2,200 worksites participate in the program covering approximately 900,000 employees. A 2007 report noted that federal VPP worksites saved the government nearly $300 million, including $59 million by avoiding injuries. Participating workplaces have an illness and injury rate well below industry averages.