S.807 - Voluntary Protection Program Act
A bill to authorize the Department of Labor's voluntary protection program and to expand the program to include more small businesses.
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Mr. ENZI (for himself, Ms. LANDRIEU, Mr. ISAKSON, and Mr. COBURN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and PensionsCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. VOLUNTARY PROTECTION PROGRAM.
(a) Cooperative Agreements- The Secretary of Labor shall establish a program of entering into cooperative agreements with employers to encourage the establishment of comprehensive safety and health management systems that include--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Labor shall establish and carry out a voluntary protection program (consistent with subsection (a)) to encourage excellence and recognize the achievement of excellence in both the technical and managerial protection of employees from occupational hazards.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) APPLICATION- Employers who volunteer under the program shall be required to submit an application to the Secretary of Labor demonstrating that the worksite with respect to which the application is made meets such requirements as the Secretary of Labor may require for participation in the program.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) ONSITE EVALUATIONS- There shall be onsite evaluations by representatives of the Secretary of Labor to ensure a high level of protection of employees. The onsite visits shall not result in enforcement of citations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (
(C) INFORMATION- Employers who are approved by the Secretary of Labor for participation in the program shall assure the Secretary of Labor that information about the safety and health program shall be made readily available to the Secretary of Labor to share with employees.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) MONITORING- To ensure proper controls and measurement of program performance for the voluntary protection program under this section, the Secretary of Labor shall direct the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health to take the following actions:CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) Develop a documentation policy regarding information on follow-up actions taken by the regional offices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in response to fatalities and serious injuries at worksites participating in the voluntary protection program.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) Establish internal controls that ensure consistent compliance by the regional offices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with the voluntary protection program policies of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for conducting onsite reviews and monitoring injury and illness rates, to ensure that only qualified worksites participate in the program.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) EXEMPTIONS- A site with respect to which a voluntary protection program has been approved shall, during participation in the program, be exempt from inspections or investigations and certain paperwork requirements to be determined by the Secretary of Labor, except that this paragraph shall not apply to inspections or investigations arising from employee complaints, fatalities, catastrophes, or significant toxic releases.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Transition- The Secretary of Labor shall take such steps as may be necessary for the orderly transition from the cooperative agreements and voluntary protection programs carried out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as of the day before the date of enactment of this Act, to the cooperative agreements and voluntary protection program authorized under this section. In making such transition, the Secretary shall ensure that--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) the voluntary protection program authorized under this section is based upon and consistent with the voluntary protection programs carried out on the day before the date of enactment of this Act; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) each employer that, as of the day before the date of enactment of this Act, had an active cooperative agreement under the voluntary protection programs carried out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and was in good standing with respect to the duties and responsibilities under such agreement, shall have the option to continue participating in the voluntary protection program authorized under this section.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(d) Regulations and Implementation- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Labor shall issue final regulations for the voluntary protection program authorized under this section and shall begin implementation of the program.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. EXPANDED ACCESS TO VOLUNTARY PROTECTION PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUSINESSES.
The Secretary of Labor shall establish and implement, by regulation, a program to increase participation by small businesses (as the term is defined by the Administrator of the Small Business Administration) in the voluntary protection program established under section 2 through outreach and assistance initiatives and the development of program requirements that address the needs of small businesses.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink