What is the Mobile Workforce Way to Participate?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has long recognized the value of cooperative efforts by employers, employees, and government agencies to reduce hazards and strengthen worker protection. The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which recognize employers and employees who have established effective safety and health management programs, have been particularly successful. However, VPP was designed primarily for fixed worksites, and many businesses were excluded from participation because of the "mobile" nature of their operations.
Based on positive experiences with past VPP Mobile Workforce Demonstrations and other VPP Demonstrations, OSHA introduced a new VPP program designed for mobile workforces which became effective on May 9, 2009. OSHA believes this new way to participate will work for companies that typically function as contractors or subcontractors who may or may not have the authority for safety and health for an entire worksite and for those companies that have employees that move site-to-site such as a specialty trade contractor or repair and maintenance company regardless of size or length and duration of the project or service.
How Does the Mobile Workforce Way to Participate Work?
Following OSHA's review and acceptance of the application, a two-phased on-site evaluation takes place. In the first phase, OSHA's onsite evaluation team will review the applicant's corporate, division or business unit policies and procedures which include a review of safety and health management programs, document review and assessment of the management commitment to safety and health, and to VPP. The second phase is dedicated to review one or more worksites to verify the safety and health management programs are actually working outside the home office where employees may work unsupervised at sites that are not owned or controlled by the applicant.
How Do I Become a Participant?
Applicants should submit their application to the VPP Manager in the OSHA Regional Office with jurisdiction over their headquarters or home office normally responsible for providing oversight for their mobile workforce operations. Application guidelines can be obtained from the Regional Office or downloaded from OSHA's website. (Note: Applicants with Federal jurisdiction worksites whose headquarters fall under State Plan jurisdiction should submit their application to the corresponding Regional VPP Manager.)
Mobile Workforce Participation under the Process Safety Management Standard
To help ensure safe and healthful workplaces, OSHA has issued the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals standard (29 CFR 1910.119), which contains requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals. Process safety management (PSM) is addressed in specific standards for the general and construction industries. OSHA's standard emphasizes the management of hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures, and management practices.
PSM Application Supplement A is a series of questions designed to establish a basic understanding of a VPP applicant's PSM policies and procedures. Applicants covered by the PSM Standard must submit responses to the PSM Application Supplement A along with their VPP application. Participants covered by the Process Safety Management Standard (PSM) will also be required to respond to applicable questions from the annual VPP PSM questionnaire.
OSHA PSM Web page: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html
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