Safety & Health

OSHA Challenge Program

The OSHA Challenge Pilot

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is always looking for new and innovative ways to encourage and assist employers in their efforts to protect their employees’ safety and health. For more than 20 years, OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) have addressed this need and provided recognition to exemplary employers.

Over the years, many employers have asked for a program catering specifically to organizations that are interested in the Voluntary Protection Programs but need some help in meeting VPP requirements. Our new offering, the OSHA Challenge Pilot, aims to satisfy this need. OSHA Challenge recognizes that there are many employers at different stages in the process of working toward implementing a successful safety and health management system.

OSHA Challenge provides opportunities for employers not currently served by existing OSHA cooperative programs to work with the agency and receive recognition for their efforts. Challenge participants link into either a General Industry or a Construction track. Within each track, participants follow a detailed three-stage roadmap that guides them to improve their safety and health management systems and work toward VPP status.

How Does OSHA Challenge Work?

OSHA Challenge helps companies take a more proactive approach to safety and health by providing an online roadmap that guides them through the steps needed to meet VPP requirements. As employers make incremental improvements in their safety and health management systems, OSHA will recognize their progress.

The online roadmap establishes clear actions, documentation, and outcomes required for Challenge participant to progress from one stage to the next. A participant that successfully completes all three stages and graduates from the pilot may be considered for expedited approval to OSHA’s VPP Star or Merit Program.

How Do I Become an OSHA Challenge Participant?

First, an interested employer—referred to as an OSHA Challenge candidate—must associate itself with an appropriate Administrator. West Virginia University Safety & Health Extension is an OSHA Challenge administrator. The candidate then completes a brief application that the administrator submits to OSHA. Upon acceptance by OSHA, the candidate becomes a participant.

The participant’s primary contact with OSHA is through its administrator, who will assist the employer to develop an effective safety and health management system by working through the stages of OSHA Challenge. Participants may begin at either stage one, two, or three—placement is determined by the comprehensiveness of the safety and health management system already in place. Participants must show progression through the stages.

There are no direct costs for participating in this voluntary program.