Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Vincent F. Kuetemeyer


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect participation in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) has on injury/illness rates (IIR). Data was obtained from OSHA's Office of Cooperative Programs for the companies participating in the VPP for the years 1983 through 1997. This data was summarized and analyzed to satisfy this study's objectives. Objective 1 was to describe and compare the companies participating in OSHA's VPP and their IIR with the average IIR reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the industries for each year of the program's existence from 1983 until 1997. It was found that OSHA's VPP participation has steadily increased. An Index factor was calculated by dividing the VPP IIR by the BLS IIR to indicate their proportional relationship. The overall weighted Index for the years 1983 through 1997 found the VPP companies experienced 63.5% fewer injuries and illnesses than the industry averages reported by the BLS. For companies participating in OSHA's VPP, objective 2 was to determine if a relationship exists between IIR and years of participation. A Pearson's correlation coefficient was calculated to determine the relationship between the length of time a company had participated in OSHA's VPP and the IIR they experienced in 1997. The analysis found a coefficient of -0.0245 with a probability of 0.718 from a sample of 225 companies indicating no significant relationship. For each industry represented in OSHA's VPP, objective 3 was to compare the annual changes in the IIR for VPP sites with the annual changes in the IIR reported by the BLS. The average IIR was graphed for each industry for each year. A comparison of trends of the VPP companies with the corresponding BLS IIR showed the VPP below the BLS but found only slight differences in the trends of the rates. The researcher recommends that additional studies be done to investigate the effect of participation in OSHA's VPP on the other benefits claimed by OSHA. The individual aspects of the safety and health programs utilized by VPP participants should be identified.