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OSHA Challenge Pilot

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created the Challenge Pilot to provide greater opportunities for eligible employers interested in working with OSHA to create safer and healthier workplaces for their employees. This pilot is designed to reach and guide employers and companies in all major industry groups strongly committed to improving their safety and health management systems and interested in pursuing recognition in the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). OSHA provides Challenge Participants a guide or roadmap to improve performance and ultimately to VPP Merit or Star. The Challenge program outlines the requirements needed to develop and implement effective safety and health management systems through incremental steps.

OSHA Challenge uses "qualified volunteers" to sponsor and act as Administrators for Challenge Participants. These Challenge Administrators must demonstrate knowledge of safety and health management systems and make a commitment to the pilot program. Challenge Administrators assist, encourage, track and periodically report to OSHA on the progress made by Challenge Participants. OSHA recognizes the Challenge Participants as they complete the required stages and make incremental improvements to their safety and health management systems. Once a Challenge Participant successfully completes all the stages, they may be considered for expedited participation in the VPP Star or Merit programs. OSHA will operate the Challenge Pilot for at least two years. After the first year, OSHA will evaluate the pilot to determine whether to continue, modify or terminate the program.

How It Works

In the Challenge Pilot, OSHA works cooperatively with Challenge Administrators to guide Challenge Participants to incrementally improve their safety and health management systems. An explanation of the role of each of these key players follows:

Challenge Administrators

Challenge Administrators are organizational entities such as corporations, Federal agencies, or nonprofit associations. For the pilot, Challenge Administrators are invited by OSHA to participate based on their interest and qualifications. Challenge Pilot Administrators include private sector companies, Federal agencies and several nonprofit associations. At the conclusion of the pilot, Administrator selections by OSHA will be made public by official announcement in the Federal Register. Administrators will be selected based on specific criteria including: demonstrated knowledge and expertise of safety and health management systems; availability of resources and expertise to perform necessary administrative functions; and commitment to the growth of the program.

Challenge Administrators must make a commitment to sponsor a specific number of eligible participants. For the pilot, Administrators must sponsor a minimum of 10 participants. Administrators serve as the primary contact for Challenge Participants and OSHA. The Administrator will appoint and use a Coordinator(s) to assist and manage participant activities. Sponsored Challenge Participants will be guided through a series of structured stages to make incremental improvements in their safety and health management systems. OSHA provides Challenge Administrators with tools to operate, manage and track performance of their sponsored participants. Challenge Administrators report on the progress made by Challenge Participants to OSHA on a periodic basis.

Challenge Participants

The Challenge Pilot is open to private or public sector employers under OSHA’s jurisdiction who are committed to improving their safety and health management systems. These employers must have the sponsorship of a Challenge Administrator. Challenge Participants must submit company information and a statement of commitment to their Challenge Administrator. This information must be provided to OSHA for review and for approval of the participant for the pilot. Additionally, OSHA and the Challenge Administrator will determine the appropriate level or stage for the participant’s entry into the pilot based on the status of their safety and health management system.

Using the roadmap or guidance materials provided by OSHA and assistance from their Administrator, Challenge Participants will gradually progress through the stages. At each stage, certain actions, documentation and outcomes are required to be accomplished and documented. Continued participation requires that each participant exhibit continued improvements in safety and health management systems and that they provide regular progress reports to their Challenge Administrator.

OSHA recognizes Challenge Participants for each measured success and incremental improvement through the stages. OSHA will provide incentives and recognition to Challenge Participants at the completion of each stage to encourage their growth and implementation of a successful safety and health management system. Incentives may include access to compliance assistance and outreach, letters and certificates of recognition from OSHA, recognition on OSHA’s website and priority scheduling for OSHA VPP onsite evaluations.

Contact Information

For more information on VPP, contact the VPP Manager at your OSHA Regional Office or OSHA’s Office of Partnerships and Recognition at:

U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs
Office of Partnerships and Recognition
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210

Telephone: (202) 693-2213

This is one in a series of informational fact sheets highlighting OSHA programs, policies or standards. It does not impose any new compliance requirements. For a comprehensive list of compliance requirements of OSHA standards or regulations, refer to Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations. This information will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. The voice phone is (202) 693-1999; teletypewriter (TTY) number: (877) 889-5627.


For more complete information:

footnote imageOccupational
Safety and Health

U.S. Department of Labor
(800) 321-OSHA



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