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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 16. Labor and Employment
Agency 25. Safety and Health Codes Board
Chapter 200. Virginia Voluntary Protection Program
8/14/2020

16VAC25-200-50. Application Requirements.

A. Term of participation.

1. There is no time limit to the term of participation in Star, as long as a site continues to meet all Star requirements and to maintain Star quality.

2. Fixed-site construction participation ceases with the completion of the construction project.

3. There is no time limit to the term of participation for mobile worksite, corporate, or Challenge site as long as the participant continues to meet all applicable requirements and maintain quality systems.

B. Injury and illness history requirements.

1. Injury and illness history is evaluated using a three-year total case incident rate (TCIR) and a three-year day away, restricted, or transfer case incident rate (DART rate). The three-year TCIR and DART rates must be compared to the published Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) national average for the five-digit or six-digit North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code for the industry in which the applicant is classified. The BLS publishes NAICS industry averages two years after data is collected. For example, in calendar year 2016, calendar year 2014 national averages will be available and used for comparison.

2. Both the three-year TCIR and the three-year DART rate must be below one of the three most recently published BLS national averages for the specific NAICS code.

3. Some smaller worksites may be eligible to use the alternate rate calculation as provided for in VOSH written procedures.

C. VOSH inspection history.

1. The applicant must not have been issued final VOSH citations related to a fatality in the preceding three-year period prior to application submission. In the event that the employer elects to contest a citation related to a VOSH fatality, the employer may not submit a VPP application until such time as all fatality-related citations have become a final order of the Commissioner of Labor and Industry.

2. If VOSH has inspected an applicant site in the 36 months preceding the application, the inspection, abatement, and any other history of interaction with VOSH must indicate good faith attempts by the employer to improve safety and health at the site. This includes verification of correction of all serious violations. In addition, the existence of any of the following at the site precludes the site's participation in VPP:

a. Open enforcement investigations;

b. Pending or open contested citations or notices under appeal at the time of application;

c. Affirmed willful or antidiscrimination whistleblower violations under § 40.1-51.2:1 of the Code of Virginia during the 36 months prior to application;

d. Documented instances of misclassification of employees during the 36 months prior to application; or

e. Unresolved, outstanding enforcement actions, such as long-term abatement agreements or contests.

D. Contract worker coverage.

1. Workers for applicable contractors must be provided with safety and health protection equal in quality to that provided to participant employees.

2. All contractors, whether regularly involved in routine site operations or engaged in temporary projects such as construction or repair, must follow the safety and health rules of the host site.

3. VPP participants must have in place a documented oversight and management system covering applicable contractors to:

a. Ensure that safety and health considerations are addressed during the process of selecting contractors and when contractors are on site;

b. Ensure that contractors follow site safety rules;

c. Include provisions for timely identification, correction, and tracking of uncontrolled hazards in contractor work areas; and

d. Include a provision for removing a contractor or contractor's employees from the site for safety or health violations.

4. Nested contractors, such as contracted maintenance workers, and temporary employees who are supervised by host site management and governed by the site's safety and health management system are entitled to the same workplace protections as host employees and are therefore included in the host site's injury and illness rates.

5. Site management must maintain copies of the TCIR and DART rate data for all applicable contractors based on hours worked at the site. Sites must report all applicable contractor TCIR and DART rate data to VOSH annually.

6. Managers, supervisors, and nonsupervisory employees of contract employers must be made aware of:

a. The hazards they may encounter while on the site.

b. How to recognize hazardous conditions and the signs and symptoms of workplace-related illnesses and injuries.

c. The implemented hazard controls, including safe work procedures.

d. Emergency procedures.

E. Assurances.

1. Applicants must understand and agree, through assurances, to fulfill program requirements for participation in VPP.

2. Applicants must assure that:

a. The applicant will comply with VOSH laws, standards, and regulations and will correct in a timely manner all hazards discovered through self-inspections, employee notification, accident investigations, VOSH onsite review, process hazard reviews, annual evaluations, or any other means. The applicant will provide effective interim protection as necessary.

b. Site deficiencies related to compliance with VOSH requirements and identified during the VOSH onsite review will be corrected within 90 days, with interim protection provided to employees.

c. Site employees support the VPP application.

d. VPP elements are in place, and the requirements of the elements will be met and maintained.

e. Employees, including newly hired employees and contract employees when they reach the site, will have the VPP explained to them, including employee rights under the program and VOSH laws, standards, and regulations.

f. Employees performing safety and health duties as part of the applicant's safety and health management system will be protected from discriminatory actions resulting from their carrying out such duties. See § 40.1-51.2:1 of the Code of Virginia.

g. Employees will have access to the results of self-inspections, accident investigations, and other safety and health management system data upon request. At unionized sites, this requirement may be met through the employee representative's access to these results.

h. The information listed in this subdivision 2 h will be maintained and available for VOSH review to determine initial and continued approval to the VPP:

(1) Written safety and health management system;

(2) Agreements between management and the collective bargaining agents concerning safety and health; and

(3) Data necessary to evaluate the achievement of individual Merit goals or one-year conditional goals.

i. On or before February 15 each year, each participating site must submit its annual evaluation to the department.

j. Whenever significant organizational, ownership, union, or operational changes occur, such as a change in management, corporate takeover, merger, or consolidation, a new statement of commitment signed by both management and any authorized collective bargaining agents, as appropriate, will be provided to VOSH within 60 days of the effective date of the significant changes.

3. The applicant must demonstrate a willingness to follow through on all assurances.

4. Employees must be aware of the recourse available to them if management fails to fulfill any of these assurances. This may include rescinding their support of VPP participation or exercising the right to file a VOSH complaint.

F. Preapplication assistance.

1. Department personnel may conduct onsite assistance visits of a prospective applicant's site to offer assistance in the application process or before scheduling the onsite evaluation to obtain additional information or clarification of information provided in the application.

2. Preapplication assistance may also include referrals to the VPP mentoring program, Virginia VPP best practices training sessions, VPPPA conferences, and VPPPA application workshops.

G. Application receipt and review.

1. The commissioner shall establish written procedures to address requirements concerning receipt and review of application contents, including the comprehensive safety and health management system requirements outlined in 16VAC25-200-60.

2. If, upon review, the application is considered incomplete, the department shall notify the applicant by letter, noting the missing elements and requesting that the missing information be submitted within 90 days. If the additional information is not provided within that timeframe, the application must be returned to the applicant. Applications can be resubmitted at any time.

3. If it is clear that the applicant cannot qualify for VPP, the department must ask the applicant to withdraw the application within 30 days. If the application is not withdrawn, the application will be returned with a letter indicating the reasons the application was denied.

4. An applicant may withdraw the application by notifying the department. The withdrawal is effective on the date the notification is received. The original application must be returned to the applicant. If the application had already been accepted, the department must retain a working copy for one year, for use in responding to questions that may arise.

Statutory Authority

§§ 40.1-22 and 40.1-49.13 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 09, eff. January 25, 2018.

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