American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) president Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM, CSHM, commented June 22 on the report released recently by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) titled “OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) – Improved Oversight and Controls Would Better Ensure Program Quality” noting the need to allow for ASSE members and other key stakeholders to help identify improvements in the program.
“ASSE supports efforts to ensure that OSHA's activities demonstrate positive results in enhanced worker safety and health. As the GAO report indicates that better oversight and measurement of VPP achievements is needed we urge OSHA to take steps now to provide such oversight and measurement of results,” Brown said. “ASSE's members understand the value of VPP in encouraging employers to invest in safety and health management systems. We believe increased oversight will demonstrate the program's overall effectiveness and help ensure that only qualified employers remain in the program.
“ASSE has long urged Congress to allow for third party audits by qualified safety and health professionals to help encourage employer compliance with OSHA standards. Where the quality of an employer's safety and health management systems may be at issue, the training and experience of a safety and health professional would be useful both to an employer and OSHA in ensuring adherence to VPP requirements. ASSE also urges OSHA to bring together ASSE’s members and other stakeholders to help identify opportunities to improve oversight and strengthen VPP’s impact on worker safety and health.”
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, Ill.-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information, go to www.asse.org.