Alliance -- An OSHA Cooperative Program<< Back to Airline Industry and the National Safety Council (NSC), International Air Transport Section

As part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)/Airlines Industry Alliance, Delta Air Lines hosted a Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Seminar on June 4, 2003 at its Technical Operations Center (TechOps) in Atlanta, Georgia. Representatives from 16 airlines, including American, Jet Blue, United and US Airways, 12 ground-support business partners and other industries attended the meeting.

The seminar focused on the importance of applying for membership in OSHA’s VPP program. Delta’s TechOps is the only airline worksite that is a member of the VPP program and the facility’s employees and management shared first- hand knowledge about the program with the attendees. In addition, Delta discussed the improvements that the airline made to its safety and health program that resulted from applying for VPP recognition.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, John Henshaw (John Henshaw's Talking Points) opened the seminar by discussing OSHA’s commitment to the VPP process and encouraged the other groups in attendance to follow TechOp’s lead. According to Mr. Henshaw, VPP work sites save millions each year in health costs because their injury and illness rates are more than 50 percent below the averages for their industries.

In addition to Mr. Henshaw, speakers from OSHA included:

  • Paula O. White, Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs updated the group on the VPP process. She told the group that the VPP’s success helped pave the way for expanding OSHA’s voluntary programs and partnerships and improving OSHA’s outreach, education and compliance assistance efforts. (Paula White's Talking Points)
  • Lee Anne Jillings, Director of OSHA’s Office of Outreach Services and Alliances talked about the success of the Agency’s Alliance program. In addition, she specifically discussed the OSHA/Airlines Industry Alliance and the products that are being developed for airline employees on the handling of passenger-checked baggage. (Lee Anne Jillings' Presentation [PPT* 440 KB])
  • Susan Sikes, OSHA’s Region IV VPP Manager gave the attendees an overview of the VPP application process. She also discussed the resources that are available, including mentoring, to help worksites that are interested in becoming VPP recognized. (Susan Sikes' Presentation [PPT* 5 MB])

During the afternoon portion of the seminar, the attendees heard from Ray Valeika, Delta’s senior vice president-TechOps. Mr. Valeika discussed how TechOps leaders assembled a team of frontline employees from each business unit and charged them with developing, implementing and monitoring all of the program elements into current safety and health programs.

He stated that "Attaining [VPP] membership takes commitment; it takes energy; it takes leadership; it takes engagement. To be effective, you’ve to got start by involving and respecting your employees and being fair. Give people an opportunity to participate and they will share their creativity." Mr. Valeika concluded by saying "I am extraordinarily proud of our Technical Operations group and the programs they’ve developed."

The OSHA/Airlines Alliance was signed November 12, 2002 with the Agency, 13 airlines and the National Safety Council’s International Air Transport Section. The Alliance encourages outreach and communication among the participants and, in addition to holding the VPP Seminar, the Alliance is updating OSHA’s eTool and developing a body mechanics training manual for handling passenger-checked baggage.

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*These files are provided for downloading.