By Edwin S. Hopson
On April 13, 2011, it was announced by Senator Mike Enzi (R), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, along with Senator Mary Landrieu (D.), who chairs the Senate Small Business Committee, that proposed legislation (S. 807) has been introduced to make permanent OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). This OSHA initiative, first introduced in 1982, encourages employers to voluntarily incorporate a fairly rigorous program to improve workplace safety and health. Currently, more than 2,500 worksites that cover approximately one million employees have VPP, which, it is estimated in a 2007 study, save some $300 million in the private sector and $59 million in the public sector in terms of workplace injuries avoided. Similar legislation (H.R. 1511) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Tom Petri (R.), senior Republican member on the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, along with Representative Gene Green (D).