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An Overview of VPP

What is VPP?

The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is designed to recognize and promote effective safety and health management. In the VPP, management, labor, and TOSHA establish a cooperative relationship at a workplace that has implemented a strong program:

Management agrees to operate an effective program that meets an established set of criteria

  • Employees agree to participate in the program and work with management to assure a safe and healthful workplace
  • TOSHA initially verifies that the program meets the VPP criteria. We then publicly recognize the site's exemplary program, and remove the site from routine scheduled inspection lists (TOSHA may still investigate major accidents, valid formal employee complaints, and chemical spills)
  • TOSHA also reassesses periodically (every three years) to confirm that the site continues to meet VPP criteria.

The VPP concept recognizes that compliance enforcement alone can never fully achieve the objectives of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Good safety management programs that go beyond TOSHA standards can protect workers more effectively than simple compliance.

VPP participants are a select group of facilities that have designed and implemented outstanding health and safety programs.

What are the benefits?

The following benefits have been cited by current VPP participants:

  • Improved employee motivation to work safely, leading to better quality and productivity
  • Reduced workers' compensation costs
  • Recognition in the community
  • Improvement of programs that are already good, through the internal and external review that's part of the VPP application process
  • VPP participant sites generally experience from 60 to 80 percent fewer lost workday injuries than would be expected of an "average" site of the same size in their industries

Won't this just make me do a lot of paperwork without making my program better?

The VPP application process is designed to be rigorous, to assure that only the best programs qualify. But VPP reviewers don't look for a single correct way to meet VPP requirements: They want to see a system that works for you. Some successful programs involve a lot of written documentation, while others do not.

There is some paperwork required in the application process, but we encourage you to use as much existing material as possible. The VPP coordinator in your region can help you with questions about what might be required.

Will my program qualify?

A Self-Assessment checklist is included in the VPP information kit. Use the checklist to see if your program meets VPP criteria.

How do I join?

You must submit a written application to TOSHA. The application guideline is included in the VPP information kit. After your written application has been reviewed by TOSHA, an Onsite Review will be scheduled.

Have Questions?
Contact David Blessman, Star Program Manager at (615) 253-6890 or via e-mail at for more information regarding the STAR programs or to obtain an application package.


Volunteer Protection Programs Participants:
Federal OSHA VPP Page
Voluntary Protection Program Participants Association VPPPA
Region IV Voluntary Protection Program

220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
Ph: (615) 741-2793
Fax: (615) 253-1623
Toll Free: 1-800-325-9901