The head of OSHA seeks the support of companies for a proposal to charge user fees for a voluntary safety program.
David Michaels wants to fund OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) through user fees instead of federal government dollars.
Michaels made his case for the proposal in a speech to the annual national conference of the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants Association (VPPPA).
VPP recognizes employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies that have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. VPP participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status.
Michaels told the conference that, with federal budget cuts, OSHA had to decide whether to put its limited resources into companies that “get it,” or those that continue to injure and kill workers.
As has been widely publicized, OSHA has chosen to put more funding into enforcement.
OSHA and Congress are looking into alternate funding sources for VPP, including user fees from participants. OSHA supports that funding idea.
Michaels warns that, without an alternate funding source, VPP isn’t likely to continue. A Senate version of OSHA’s FY 2011 budget contains no funding for the program.
“If we are to succeed in saving this program,” Michaels said, “we — OSHA and VPPPA together — need to present a united front on this issue.”
But it doesn’t appear that VPPPA will come over to Michaels’ thinking on the subject.
VPPPA has asked its members to send a letter to members of Congress asking to codify VPP and eliminate any idea of a user-fee system for the program.
With limited federal funds, what do you think is the solution? Let us know in the Comments Box below.
Also, see our poll on the SNA homepage on the topic of how OSHA should allocate its funding.