As debate continues in Washington, DC, on how to fund OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), a recent case shows that the program isn’t a guarantee against workplace fatalities.
OSHA is investigating the death of an employee at Trinity Marine in Ashland City, TN.
Police say Julio Colon-Figueroa was found lying on the ground next to a large piece of metal when they arrived on the scene. He was bleeding from the head.
An officer started CPR until emergency personnel arrived.
Colon-Figueroa was pronounced dead en route to a local hospital.
OSHA is investigating.
Trinity Marine has refused to comment publicly on how the employee died.
In 2009, the company earned a Voluntary Protection Program Star from OSHA for outstanding safety performance and processes.
The Tennessean says this is the third work-related fatality at Trinity Marine in 13 years, according to its own archives.
A worker died in July 1997 from an electric shock while welding and another employee died in June 2000 after he was fatally electrocuted.
Two other workers were injured at the company in March 1998 and October 2002.
OSHA VPP Star status exempts companies from the agency’s programmed inspections, and to get into the program in the first place, a company needs a lower than average injury record for its industry.
VPP companies do have to undergo periodic OSHA inspections to retain their status.
OSHA wants companies to foot the bill for the VPP. Republicans in Congress want the government to continue to fund it.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has said improved oversight and controls on VPP would improve the program.
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