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On June 4, OSHA released a directive from Assistant Secretary David Michaels changing how the agency should proceed when there is a fatality investigation at a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) site

The memo addresses what actions regional OSHA offices should take when they learn of a fatality or catastrophic event, defined as an event in which three or more workers require at least overnight treatment in a hospital.

According to the directive, the regional offices should notify national OSHA and, if the incident triggers an enforcement inspection, the VPP participant’s status will be changed to “inactive pending fatality/catastrophe inspection.” The participant then will receive a written notice of the change and will be asked not to display the VPP flag, plaque and certificates. In addition, the VPP participant will be asked to inform any workers in the company that are “special government employees” (SGE) that they may not act as an SGE while in that status.

When the enforcement inspection is completed, OSHA will decide whether or not a citation will be issued. OSHA will then review the participant’s VPP status, per existing program guidelines, to determine if they will be removed or reinstated in the program.