Original Date: 07/10/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Voluntary Protection Program
Tobyhanna Army Depot’s participation in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program shows a commitment by management and the workforce to work together in an effort to exceed the minimal safety requirements, which has resulted in an injury rate that is 55% below industry standards.
The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is to emphasize the importance of, encourage the improvement of, and recognize excellence in occupational safety and health programs. Sites that participate in the VPP work not only to remain compliant with OSHA regulations but commit to exceed the minimal health and safety standards set by OSHA. As a VPP participant, Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) management and labor work together to protect the workforce as opposed to the traditional compliance-oriented approach.
TYAD began the VPP process in 1998, which meant entering into a new relationship with OSHA focused on trust and cooperation and a goal of safety excellence for the protection of the workforce. TYAD’s strong management commitment and leadership were necessary to establish criteria that exceeded the minimal standards set by OSHA. This was accomplished through employee involvement teams, safety star points, employee vigilance, job hazard analyses, quarterly safety inspections, safety talks, accident investigations, Web-based interactive safety training, hazard identification and abatement programs, directorate scorecard review, safety council meetings, and the use of personal protective equipment.
Since the implementation of VPP, injury rates are calculated to be 55% below those of similar industries. Injury rates for days-away-restriction transfer cases are down to 18%. TYAD received the Merit Site Award in 1999 and 2000, a Star Site Award in 2000, and VPP recertification in 2006. Achieving VPP Star status has propelled TYAD to a level of safety excellence and the distinction of being the first defense organization to achieve VPP recognition.
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