The VPP promote effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system.
The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) recognize employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries.
VPP is OSHA's premiere recognition program designed to recognize worksites with comprehensive safety and health management systems that incorporate strong management commitment and meaningful, active employee involvement.
In VPP, management, labor, and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through a system focused on:
- hazard prevention and control
- worksite analysis
- management commitment
- worker involvement
To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. Union support is required for applicants represented by a bargaining unit.
Approval into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees.
VPP participants are re-evaluated every three to five years to remain in the programs. VPP participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status.
The VPP were designed primarily for fixed worksites, however mobile workforces and corporations can also participate.
Site-Based participation continues VPP's traditional acceptance of applications from fixed worksites and some long-term construction sites.
Mobile Workforce participation is for companies that typically function as contractors or subcontractors and for those companies whose employees move site-to-site.
VPP Corporate is designed for corporate applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to employee safety and health and VPP.
By participating in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), many employers have improved their workplace safety and health management systems and implemented activities or procedures that have produced outstanding results and contributed to improved safety and health for workers.
The VPP has a 20+ year history, and the average VPP worksite has a Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART) case rate that is 52% below the average for its industry. VPP participation can also lead to lower employee turnover and increased productivity and cost savings.
Fewer injuries and illnesses mean greater profits as workers’ compensation premiums and other costs plummet. Entire industries benefit as VPP sites evolve into models of excellence and influence practices industry-wide.
In practice, VPP sets performance-based criteria for a managed safety and health system, invites sites to apply, and then assesses applicants against these criteria. OSHA’s verification includes an application review and a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts.
OSHA approves qualified sites to one of three programs:
Star: Recognition for employers and employees who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of their safety and health management system.
Merit: Recognition for employers and employees who have developed and implemented good safety and health management systems but who must take additional steps to reach Star quality.
Demonstration: Recognition for employers and employees who operate effective safety and health management systems that differ from current VPP requirements. This program enables OSHA to test the efficacy of different approaches.
If you’d like to learn more, detailed information about OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs can be found at osha.gov/vpp. This website includes details about the program, ways to participate, participant information, policy and guidance, as well as success stories.
For more information on becoming a VPP participant, contact OSHA's Office of Partnerships and Recognition at (202) 693-2213 or the VPP Manager at your OSHA Regional Office.