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Voluntary OSHA program in jeopardy

June 01, 2010
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WASHINGTON — An initiative by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that encourages employers to establish health and safety programs could fall victim to the federal agency''s emphasis on enforcement, say backers of legislation introduced to preserve OSHA''s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), according to Business Insurance.
The 18-year-old program encourages cooperation between employers, employees and OSHA by recognizing workplaces that conduct safety risk assessments, mitigate hazards and maintain a record of reduced losses, the article stated.
President Obama''s fiscal 2011 budget includes no funding for the program, said a spokesman for Senator Michael B. Enzi, R-WY, the ranking member of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), the article noted.
According to the article, Senator Enzi introduced S.B. 3257 in April, which would codify and make permanent the VPP within OSHA. The bill remains in committee.
Employer and safety organizations that fear the funding and OSHA personnel who oversee the program are being shifted to enforcement duties and are supporting the senator''s efforts, the article added.
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