Table of Contents OSHA Home Page DOL Home Page Contact Us
  Happy Birthday VPP!
VPP's 20-Year History
July 2, 1982
OSHA announces establishment of the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) in Federal Register Notice 47 FR 29025. The VPP will seek out and recognize worksites with outstanding safety and health management systems and encourage cooperation among government, industry, and labor. The original three programs are Star, Try, and Praise.

July 9, 1982
OSHA awards the first VPP approvals to three Praise sites operated by Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York.

October 26, 1982
OSHA awards the first VPP Star approval to ABB Air Preheater, Wellsville, NY.

September 1985
The Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA) holds its first annual conference.

October 29, 1985
In Federal Register Notice 50 FR 43804, OSHA issues its first revision to the VPP. VPP no longer will allow sites to qualify based solely on their safety program; sites now must provide effective protection against both health and safety hazards. The agency eliminates the Praise program in favor of using the Star program to recognize exemplary worksites in all industries, and establishes the VPP Demonstration program to replace the experimental element of the Try program.

August 1, 1986
California becomes the first state with an OSHA-approved safety and health program to adopt a VPP-type program, named the Cooperative Self- Inspection Program.

July 7, 1987
Labor Secretary William E. Brock honors Mobil Chemical as the first corporation to achieve VPP Star recognition at all of its 24 worksites.

January 26, 1988
The Try program is renamed the Merit program.

January 26, 1989
OSHA publishes its Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines in Federal Register Notice 54 FR 3904 following congressional testimony documenting the benefits of systematic safety and health management at VPP sites. The voluntary guidelines are intended to assist employers in preventing occupational injuries and illnesses and establishing comprehensive, effective safety and health management systems.

January 15, 1993
Austin Industrial becomes the first participant in VPP's new Demonstration Program for Resident Contractors.

May 25, 1993
Milliken and Co.'s Avalon Plant, Toccoa, GA, becomes the 100th worksite to gain VPP approval when it qualifies for Star status.

February 28, 1994
OSHA initiates the OSHA VPP Special Government Employee (SGE) Program and sends its first SGE to serve as the safety professional on a VPP onsite review team.

June 1994
The newly formalized VPP Mentoring Program matches its first VPP site mentor with a potential VPP applicant seeking assistance. The program later is renamed the VPPPA Mentoring Program when the association assumes full responsibility for its operation.

September 7, 1994
The Department of Energy initiates a Voluntary Protection Program (DOE-VPP) modeled closely after the OSHA VPP model.

September 26, 1995
Vice President Al Gore, at the 11th Annual National VPPPA Conference, presents his Hammer Award to the OSHA/ VPPPA partnership for building a government that works better and costs less.

October 10, 1996
Potlatch Corp.'s Jaype Plywood Unit, Pierce, ID, becomes the 250th site approved into VPP. The private-sector's recognition of the value of VPP participation and the prestige associated with VPP approval are evident in the program's rapid growth. It took nearly 11 years for VPP to hit the 100-site mark, but only 3 years to grow an additional 150 percent.

October 27, 1997
OSHA extends VPP eligibility to federal agency worksites.

April 10, 1998
OSHA approves the VPP Demonstration Program for Short-Term Construction Projects to gain experience in how companies ensure a safe work environment at multiple, short-term (12 to 18 months) construction sites.

November 13, 1998
OSHA launches the VPP Mobile Workforce Demonstration Program to test the feasibility of companies providing excellent safety and health protection to a workforce that performs its duties at a variety of locations not controlled by their employer. Until now, only fixed worksites have been eligible to participate in VPP.

July 23-27, 1999
Star participant United Space Alliance at the NASA Shuttle Logistic Depot (NSLD), Cape Canaveral, FL, takes safety to new heights as two VPP Star flags fly 1.8 million miles aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and return safely to Earth. One of the flags is later presented to Alexis Herman, Secretary of Labor; the other is framed and hung in the main lobby at NSLD Building # 1.

February 28, 2000
VPP awards its 500th approval to Science Application International Corp. (SAIC), a resident contractor at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX. Initially joining VPP's Demonstration Program for Resident Contractors, SAIC moves into the Star program the following July when the Demonstration program's success prompts OSHA to expand VPP eligibility to resident contractors at approved VPP sites.

July 24, 2000
OSHA issues significant revisions to VPP in Federal Register Notice 65 FR 45650 that raise the level of achievement expected of participants. Among other changes, an alternative rate calculation will help small businesses qualify for the Star program. In recognition of the seriousness of occupational illnesses, a site's illness experience will be combined with its injury experience in future calculations of required rates.

July 24, 2000
Based on a successful Demonstration program, VPP eligibility is extended to resident contractors at approved VPP sites.

August 27, 2001
OSHA and VPPPA announce three joint initiatives:
- Double the number of small businesses in the VPP over the next 3 years.
- Work together to improve safety and health at worksites that appear on OSHA's Site Specific Targeting List due to high injury and illness rates.
- Enhance workplace safety and health protections for non- English speaking workers.

September 11, 2001
VPP SGEs from around the country respond to OSHA's request for team volunteers to support the agency's response to terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

July 2, 2002
OSHA observes the 20th anniversary of the announcement of the Voluntary Protection Programs in Federal Register Notice 47 FR 29025.