Are You Up to Meeting OSHA's Challenge Pilot Program Safety Standards?

NECA Chicago and IBEW Local 134 are challenging you and your company to complete the Challenge Pilot Program, which was designed by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) to meet the needs of employers wanting to improve their safety and health management systems and expedite their effort to attain Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) status.

"We've seen good contractors become excellent contractors, and employees have become partners with management to establish a comprehensive safety program and culture," said Tom Broderick, executive director of the Construction Safety Council. "Instead of employees being told what to do, they are part of the process."

Once accepted into the program, challenge participants begin a three-stage process with defined requirements to successfully implement components of an effective safety and health management system. Each stage has knowledge and action requirements related to management leadership and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, safety and health training. Employers receive recognition from OSHA for incremental progress while formalizing procedures and methods currently used by many corporations that have multiple VPP sites.

The ultimate goal of every Challenge Program graduate is to achieve VPP status. In this program, management, labor and OSHA establish cooperative relationships for workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Acceptance into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.

In fact, contractors that achieve VPP status are removed from OSHA's scheduled inspection list, which means no surprise OSHA inspections.

Rex Electric Inc. & Technologies has successfully completed the Challenge Program, meeting the program requirements in October 2006.

"We used the stages of the program to enhance and strengthen our safety manual to where I believe it is one of the best in the Chicago area," said Brian Clish, director of safety for Rex Electric.

"The verbiage and content of each stage makes a participant think about how to make his or her managers and field personnel recognize and control hazards," continued Clish. "There is no doubt that the work involved regarding this program is well worth the benefits."

To learn how your company can get involved in the Challenge Pilot Program, visit