Companies that are in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) are supposed to be some of the safest facilities in the nation. So, what happens when there’s a workplace fatality at a VPP site? The question has been raised after a fatality at a Louisiana refinery. A contract worker fell into the 15-foot water basin of the primary cooling tower at the facility. The company is an OSHA VPP participant.

The rules for what happens to VPP sites after on-site fatalities are contained in OSHA’s “Memorandum 7,” which was issued in 2013. The memo says the status of a VPP site must be changed to “Inactive Pending Fatality/Catastrophe Inspection” following a fatality. An Intent to Terminate (ITT) Letter is automatically sent to the VPP site if it’s determined the fatality was work-related, the site is placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), and/or willful violation(s) are issued.

OSHA Push to Expand Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)

The facility has the option of appealing the ITT. OSHA then decides if the site is removed from VPP. Memo 7 was revised on May 30. OSHA removed references to willful violations and the SVEP. OSHA has said it wants to expand the VPP program – and this is the first time there’s been a fatality at a VPP site since Memo 7 was revised. The agency has six months to issue citations. Then it’ll determine if the site should remain in the program. Interested in becoming a VPP site or simply need a mock OSHA inspection at your facility?  Click here and fill out our on-site training/consulting form to get a quote for this service today.

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About the Author

Jon Knight

Jon Knight leads the NASP Team’s media creation department. He has been involved with workplace safety training since 2017 with a focus on course creation. He also provides video production and voiceovers for NASP content.
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