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OSHA Introduces Protal for Volunteer Program

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a new portal making it simpler to apply for its Voluntary Protection Programs.

Not only is the portal simpler but modernized to help companies who qualify for VPP to start, continue and get assistance in submitting their applications.

“Companies in the Voluntary Protection Programs go above and beyond basic OSHA requirements and strive to create a culture of safety,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. “This important program comprises sites that serve as models of excellence and influence safety and health practices in all industries.”

OSHA can now review applications in real time, quickly helping companies to correct errors or omissions. Companies can upload supporting documents and even start an application, then come back to complete it later.

The portal also allows businesses to download an application they can complete offline, then send it by mail.

The idea behind the portal is for OSHA to continue on a path of representing health and safety excellence. It helps leverage resources, better administer the VPP program and supports program growth.

External stakeholders and OSHA staff worked together to develop the portal, so that all qualified companies “with

mature safety and health management systems can apply to VPP through the portal.”

The VPP began in 1982 as a way for OSHA to recognize cooperation among industry, labor and government to address worker health and safety issues and expand worker protection.

Go Beyond OSHA

Simply staying “OSHA legal” is no longer enough. Companies are creating safety standards of care by going beyond compliance. It helps employees and it also helps employers protect their bottom line.

How does a company go beyond compliance? Start by looking at OSHA regulations and how your company can go further.

For example, companies must be compliant with OSHA regulations when it comes to chemical exposure protection for employees and downstream users. OSHA created permissible exposure limits in 1970 that remain in place today. However, knowledge regarding exposure to chemical toxicity continues to evolve.

Legal compliance is different from protecting your employees, downstream users and your business. You create a safer standard of care by going beyond OSHA legal and therefore, protect your bottom line.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA and OSHA overlap in their jurisdictions when dealing with workplace exposure. EPA has a broader reach; however, its guidelines do

not nullify OSHA regulations for workplace compliance. Again, though, using OSHA regulations is not enough.

The EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act has wide-reaching rules that go beyond chemical exposure in the workplace. It also has occupational exposure limits that are stricter than OSHA’s. And there are amendments as a result of the EPA’s Principles for Reform designed to “reauthorize and significantly strengthen” the act’s effectiveness.

Going beyond OSHA regulations puts your employees and your company in a safer position.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.