Putting a continued focus on improving worker safety is more important now during the COVID-19 pandemic than ever before, experts at the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association Inc.'s first annual virtual conference next level safety said on Tuesday.
"Workplaces are much safer today … but workers continue to be injured and killed at work every day and there is still a lot of work to do," said Jim Frederick, Deputy Secretary of the Work Environment Authority, who was appointed to the post at the end of January. "Deaths and injuries can be reduced by ensuring compliance with safety standards."
During the introductory speech, Frederick highlighted OSHA's latest plans for pandemic responses, which included updated guidelines for employers on COVID-1
"There is a lot of work to be done to confirm OSHA's commitment to worker safety," he said.
Jimmy Hart, president of the metal industry department at the AFL-CIO, who also spoke at the inaugural address, noted the risks many workers have faced over the past 15 months due to the pandemic.
"Workers have been exposed to yet another deadly risk at work," he said. "Workers are currently facing the sad reality that not everyone involved works according to the same principles. Their security problems must be taken seriously. "
One step in the right direction," said VPPPA Chairman Terry Schulte, is to support the Voluntary Protection Program Act, which has been introduced in the United States House and Senate and has been referred to the committee in both chambers. Although the program has existed since 1982, it is not a statutory program. If the law passes, it would make VPP permanent. Similar legislation was introduced in 2019 but did not pass.
"It must never be forgotten that VPP is a true partnership," said Schulte, who heads the company's VPP for San Antonio, Texas-based NuStar Energy LP. "We should commend the management of companies that receive it. … "The VPP program … shows that we are better together."
More insurance and work compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here .