Notre Dame pursues highest level of safety certification


Vpp Timeline Web2

Last year, Risk Management and Safety began working with staff in the University’s operations divisions, Athletics, RecSports, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, and representatives from the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) to seek to earn certification in the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). Certification in the program is a coveted mark of workplace safety. Employers that receive VPP certification have achieved exemplary levels of workplace safety, with injury rates that are typically 50 to 70 percent lower than their peers. 

While Notre Dame will be the first university to pursue VPP certification, it will also contribute as an emerging leader in higher education safety. “This is the most ambitious safety program the University has pursued in its history,” says Eric Kloss, senior director of risk management and safety. 

OSHA’s verification includes an application review and a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts. The next step in the 3 to 5 year process is to conduct safety assessments in research labs across campus; those assessments will be conducted from June to December this year. Before earning certification, the University will need to show average injury rates below the baseline standard for higher education. Both the 3-year total case incident rate (TCIR) and the 3-year days away, restricted or transferred (DART) rate must be below at least one of the three most recent years of the national average for higher education for nonfatal injuries and illnesses at the level published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Learn more about VPP at


Originally published by Marissa Gebhard at on February 25, 2020.