28/07/2006 - 05:00 am

OSHA Unveils Voluntary Protection Program for Mobile Workforce in Construction

A nationwide Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) initiative aimed at meeting the unique needs and characteristics of the construction industry • Mobile Workforce VPP Demonstration for Construction • was unveiled today by OSHA Administrator Ed Foulke at the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Safety and Health Committee mid-year meeting in Denver.

"VPP is a good tool for increasing safety and health awareness within the industry," Foulke told attendees when announcing the program. "It is important for OSHA to recognize those construction companies that should be held up as models of safety and health for the rest of the industry."

The Mobile Workforce VPP Demonstration for Construction will join VPP Corporate Pilot and OSHA Challenge Pilot as the newest component of OSHA's premier cooperative program that recognizes and promotes effective health and safety management systems.

"This initiative aims to provide the mobile construction workforce and short-term projects with the same opportunity for recognition that fixed site employers receive," said Foulke. "We believe our proposal has the potential to significantly contribute to reductions in injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in one of the nation's most hazardous industries."

The new demonstration is based on the agency's VPP experience as well as successes garnered through the construction-related Mobile Workforce and Short-Term Construction Star Demonstration Programs. The core of the initiative continues to rest on the principle of effective safety and health management systems. However, it is unique from traditional VPP programs in that it adds new procedures and requirements that recognize the unique aspects of the construction industry. For example, the program allows for participation at the company, division, or business unit levels.

VPP is OSHA's premier cooperative program, with about 1,400 workplaces currently participating. VPP worksites save millions each year because their injury and illness rates are more than 50 percent below the averages for their industries. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented comprehensive safety and health management systems. Approval into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health programs.


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