The Norfolk Naval Shipyard has earned membership in the prestigious "Star" Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Located in the City of Portsmouth, Va., the shipyard activities include nuclear reactor servicing, ship alteration, repair of naval nuclear ships and submarines, manufacturing and engineering. The site is noted for having a three-year injury and illness rate 57 percent below the industry average. The facility joins an elite corps of 1,400 worksites nationwide that have earned VPP status. The "Star" designation came after an OSHA team's thorough on-site review of its application and safety and health programs, interviews with employees and a complete tour of the worksite.
By moving beyond traditional safety programs, OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs give employers unique opportunities to work with the agency to successfully incorporate comprehensive safety and health programs into their total management systems. In the program, management, labor and OSHA establish a cooperative relationship at a worksite that has implemented strong safety and health systems. Employers in any industry can strive for "Star" recognition.
To qualify for VPP status, sites must meet or exceed all OSHA regulatory standards and submit to an OSHA review of their programs. Companies that have been accepted into the VPP represent more than 280 industries. Program participants typically achieve injury and illness rates more than 50 percent below their respective industry's average rates.
Requirements for application to VPP include a high degree of management support and employee involvement; a high-quality worksite hazard analysis; prevention and control programs, and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective, in place and in operation for at least one year before applying to join the program.