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Special Government Employees
Paul Villane was OSHA's first SGEVPP members have been eager to help OSHA keep the program alive and well. One result is the innovative use of the Special Government Employee (SGE) Program, begun in 1994 to supplement the staff OSHA needs to conduct VPP onsite evaluations at increasing numbers of worksites.

Qualified employees from approved VPP sites undergo OSHA training in how to assess workplace safety and health management systems. Then OSHA swears them in as SGEs, entitled to participate as full-fledged members of OSHA's VPP evaluation teams. Along with their OSHA colleagues, SGEs visit applicant and member sites to review safety and health documents, interview employees, conduct walkthroughs, and contribute to the team's evaluation report and recommendation. Sponsoring employers pay the SGEs' salaries and expenses.

Paul Villane became the first VPP Special Government Employee when he was Safety Manager at Monsanto, Inc., a VPP Star site in Pensacola, FL. Now Executive Director of the nonprofit Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association, Villane calls the SGE Program "a boon to both OSHA and the VPP companies that choose to participate." He says, "OSHA and VPP site employees work side by side, sharing what they've learned about worker protection, contributing what are sometimes very different perspectives and approaches, and helping the sites we visit solve real-world problems that make a real difference in employees' lives."