Employers in Oklahoma and elsewhere must generally abide by workplace standards set by OSHA. However, companies with a proven safety track record may have the opportunity to opt to participate in Voluntary Protection Programs. According to the former assistant secretary of OSHA, there has been no rigorous study proving that VPP is effective. In most cases, VPP participants were larger companies that had the resources to create quality safety programs.
The use of VPP may not have much of an effect when it comes to reducing workplace injuries and illnesses. For companies to take part in the program, OSHA had to conduct thorough inspections, which took time and resources away from other matters. Furthermore, a former OSHA official said that budgetary restraints made it impossible to add new companies to the program. Instead, time and money were spent on re-approving companies that were already part of VPP.
It should also be noted that some VPP participants had willful violations of workplace safety rules. By using enforcement instead of VPP, OSHA may be able to impact the greatest number of employers. It also allows the organization to spend time inspecting companies that don’t have as great of a track record protecting their employees. Increasing oversight on these businesses may have a greater impact on reducing worker injuries and illnesses overall.
Those who are hurt in an on-the-job accident may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. This might come in the form of having medical bills paid or getting back a portion of their lost wages. Depending on the severity of the injury, benefits may be offered on a permanent basis. An attorney may be able to help an injured worker file an application for benefits or file an appeal if an original claim is denied.