Any worksite regardless of size and type of business can apply for participation in the Cal/VPP program.
Although participation is voluntary and any company can apply to join Cal/VPP, all companies are welcome and encouraged to participate (See benefits under purpose & description). Corporate management may apply on behalf of one or more sites, and each site must qualify individually as this program is site specific. At construction sites of long durations, an eligible applicant is the general contractor or a subcontractor who has the ability to control safety and health of its employees.
The applicant must assure Cal/OSHA that:
- All employees, including new hires will have the concept of the Cal/VPP explained to them as part of a general discussion about employee rights under the Cal/OSHA sections of the Labor Code
- All hazards discovered through self-inspections, accident investigations, employee reports, or by Cal/OSHA will be corrected in a timely manner. A written description of the corrective actions is available to affected employees
- If employees are given safety and health duties as part of the applicant's safety and health program, the applicant will assure that those employees will be protected from retaliatory action resulting from those duties
- Employees shall have access to the results of self-inspections, accident investigations and all other safety and health related activities
When a site applying for the Cal/VPP program has employees organized by one or more recognized collective bargaining agents, the agent(s) must submit a signed statement indicating that the collective bargaining agent(s) does(do) not object to participation and support the program.
Cal/OSHA Compliance history
If the applicant has been inspected in the last three years, the inspection, abatement and/or other history of interaction with Cal/OSHA must indicate good faith attempts to abate unsafe conditions and to improve safety and health at the worksite. The following final order citations for a site in the last three years will disqualify the applicant:
- willful citations
- repeat citations
Applicants are required to establish mentorship with an approved Cal/VPP site(s) and attend Cal/VPP seminars, workshops and Voluntary Protection Program Participants' (VPPPA) conferences.
To select the best mentor the applicant must fill the Request Form.
Special Team Member
Special Team Members (STM) are qualified candidates from the California VPP sites invited to participate as a team member in the Cal/OSHA VPP team onsite evaluations and pre visits processes. Assistance from STMs enable Cal/VPP team to evaluate more applicants and provides a mutual opportunity to the site and STM for training and sharing programs and ideas for continuous improvement. All STMs are certified by receiving an in-classroom and on-the-job training for a two-year term of service.
The following documents will be maintained at Cal/OSHA Consultation headquarters for public access beginning on the day the applicant is approved for as long as Cal/VPP participation is active:
- Cal/VPP application and amendments
- Cal/OSHA approval letter
Terms of participation
Once approval is granted the term of participation in the Cal/Star program continues indefinitely, contingent upon continued favorable triennial re-evaluation. In the construction industry, participation ends with the completion of construction work at the site, or triennially, whichever comes first.
Qualifications for the Cal/VPP Program
Injury and illness rates
The average of the DART (Days Away from Work, Days of Restricted Work Activity or Job Transfer) and TCIR (Total Case Incident Rates) for a three-year period must be 90% below the average of most recent three-year specific industry (NAICS code) published by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
All of the following elements must be in place for a period of not less than 12 months before approval and/or applicant must demonstrate a system in place to assure the followings:
Each applicant must be able to demonstrate a documented top-level management commitment to worker safety and health consisting of the following:
- Authority and responsibility for employee safety and health is integrated into management system and overall planning
- Established policies and results-oriented objectives are communicated to all employees, managers, supervisors, and safety and health staff
- Leading indicators and proactive measures that will ensure continuous improvement of the site's safety program have been identified.
- An employee recognition program that recognizes positive activities that contribute to the improvement of the site's safety program, such as training coworkers, reporting near misses, participating in hazard assessments, and submitting safety suggestions.
Note: Employee recognition cannot be based on or affiliated with lagging indicators, such as a reduction in injuries or injury rates.
- Authorities and responsibilities are clearly defined and implemented
- Adequate resources are devoted to achieve objectives
- Top management is visibly involved in worker safety and health
- Planning for safety and health must be part of the overall, long-term management planning.
Management must also clearly commit to meet and maintain the requirements of the Cal/VPP.
Access to professional expertise
Reasonable site access to Certified Industrial Hygienists and Certified Safety professionals or Registered Safety Engineers must be available as needed, based on the potential risks of the site.
The general industry applicant must have a documented system for holding all line managers and supervisors accountable for safety and health. The construction applicant must demonstrate that the project manager and contractor superintendents are held accountable for worker safety and health.
All applicants must be able to demonstrate that all contractors and subcontractors will follow Cal/OSHA safety orders and worksite safety and health rules and procedures.
For understanding of all hazards and the ability to correct them the following are required:
- Periodic comprehensive surveys by qualified person(s) to identify unsafe conditions and work practices
- Pre-use review for new or modified processes, equipment or materials to determine potential hazards
- The use of nationally recognized associations that provide guidance for evaluation procedures, analysis, sampling and recordkeeping
- A reliable system for employees, without fear of reprisal, to notify appropriate management personnel of safety and health concerns, in person and/or in writing. The system must include the ability to track responses and hazard corrections
- An accident/incident investigation system which includes written reports of findings and hazard correction tracking
- A routine review of job hazards identified for inclusion in training and hazard control
- A system for initiating and tracking hazard correction in a timely manner
- A medical program which includes the availability of physician and first-aid services
- A system for conducting routine self-inspections with documentation and tracking of hazard correction
In construction, this must include management inspection which cover the entire worksite at least weekly; and
Inspections by members of the safety and health committee which cover the entire worksite, as appropriate but no less than once per month.
Hazard prevention and control
Based on result of worksite analysis, identified hazards must be eliminated or controlled. The following must be implemented to prevent incidents or control their frequency and/or severity:
- Safety and health rules, including safe and healthful work procedures for specific operations, appropriate to the potential hazards of the site, written, implemented, and updated by management as needed and used by all employees
- Procedures for disciplinary action or re-orientation of employees and supervisors who break or disregard safety rules, safe work practices or emergency procedures.
- Procedures for emergency response requiring personal protective equipment, first aid, medical care, and emergency egress.
- Ongoing monitoring and preventive/predictive maintenance of workplace equipment
Safety and health training
Training is necessary to implement management's commitment to prevent exposure to hazards. Supervisors and employees must know and understand the policies, rules and procedures established to prevent exposure. Training for safety and health requires ensuring that:
- Supervisors understand the hazards associated with a job, their potential effects on employees, their role in teaching and enforcement ensuring that employees follow the rules, procedures and work practices for controlling exposure to the hazards.
- Employees are trained in safety and health protection at the same time they are taught their job.
- Refresher training is provided as needed.
- Employees at all levels know what to do in emergency situations.
Construction sites must utilize the labor-management safety committee approach to involve employees in the identification and correction of hazardous activities and conditions. The applicant must be able to demonstrate that the site has a joint labor-management committee for safety and health which has the following characteristics:
- A minimum of one year's experience in providing safety and health advice and making periodic site inspections
- Equal representation of management and employee
- Meets regularly, and maintains minutes of each meeting
- Makes regular workplace inspections covering the entire workplace as appropriate (at least once a month)
- In addition, the joint committee must be allowed to:
a) Observe or assist in the investigation and documentation of major accidents
b) Have access to all relevant safety and health information and
c) Have adequate training in hazard recognition with additional training as needed.
For general industry, the employer must be able to demonstrate: (i) that the site has a joint labor-management committee for safety and health which has the characteristics of the above, or (ii) provide an equally effective way for employees to participate in safety and health problem identification and resolution which goes beyond the individual right to notify appropriate managers of hazardous conditions and practices.
Safety and Health Program evaluation / (Comprehensive Evaluations)
The applicant must have a system for annually evaluating the safety and health program to determine what changes are needed to improve the program effectiveness. The system must provide for written narrative reports with recommendations for improvements and documentation of follow-up action.
Authority to use the CalVPP logo and name
The work sites that have been deemed certified are authorized to use the Cal/VPP logo and name for promotional purposes such as company letterheads, business cards, items such as caps, shirts used for employee contests , etc, and/or for other approved valid and legal purposes.
All other employer sites including those pending certification may only use the CalVPP logo and name for internal employee education and promotion on items such as posters, overhead and other training materials while specifically stating the company is working to achieve the Cal/VPP status.