Back to 2009 OSHSPA Report
Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH)
The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board and the Virginia State Plan developed several
Lapse times: VOSH reduced the average lapse time between opening an inspection and disposition or issuance
of a citation. In July 2008, the State Activity Mandated Measures (SAMM) report indicated that the agency was
above the national goal in lapse time – the average number of calendar days between the opening of an inspection
and the date that citations are issued. The national goal was 45.6 days for safety Inspections and 59.9 days
for health Inspections. Virginia’s numbers for the April-June 2008 quarter were 70.5 days in safety and 57.6 days
in health. Program managers immediately took steps to track this performance measure on a weekly basis to
improve efficiency. The most recent SAMM report shows that the lapse time is 37.3 days in safety (national goal is
45.5) and 44.7 days in health (national goal is 58.7).
- 16 VAC 25-97, Reverse Signal Operation Safety Requirements for Vehicles, Machinery, and Equipment for
General Industry and the Construction Industry. This new regulation will protect employees in work areas
exposed to vehicles, machinery, and equipment traffic. It requires that covered vehicles, machinery, and
equipment cannot be operated in reverse unless the vehicle has a reverse signal alarm and a designated
observer signals that it is safe – or the driver sees that no one is in the vehicle’s path.
- 16 VAC 25-95, Medical Services and First Aid Standards for General Industry, and 16 VAC 25-177,
Services and First Aid Standards for the Construction Industry. These new regulations require employers
whose employees may be exposed to workplace hazards to have at each job site and for each shift at
least one employee trained in first aid and CPR. The regulations exclude work sites that have no serious
occupational hazards and will clarify the requirements for mobile crews and individuals, and permanently
- 16 VAC 25-73, Tree Trimming Operations. This proposed regulation, based on the American National
Standard’s Institute (ANSI) Z133.1-2006, Safety Requirements for Arboricultural Operations for Application
to Tree Trimming Operations, addresses non-logging, tree-trimming, and cutting operations on residential
and commercial work sites.
Virginia expanded its local emphasis program on tree falling and tree delimbing from the Tidewater and Central
regions to all regions in Virginia because of the increasing number of fatalities. Since 2005, there have been 26
fatalities involving tree trimmers or loggers. Virginia’s other local emphasis programs cover spray-on truck bed
linings, fall hazards in construction, scaffolding, heavy construction equipment, overhead high-voltage lines,
lumber and wood products, and waste water and water treatment facilities. The results for the year from Virginia’s
local emphasis programs are:
Virginia also participates in excavations, amputations, asbestos, lead, crystalline silica, and combustible dust
national emphasis programs.
- Inspections: 3,468
- Serious violations: 4,138
- Willful violations: 39
- Repeat violations: 158
- Other violations: 1,745
The primary goal of
VOSH’s Safety and Health Enforcement Divisions is to increase the presence of our compliance
officers through increased inspections and to target industries that present the greatest risk to employees.
Though recent budgetary constraints have affected hiring and retention of compliance officers in 2008, the
Virginia State Plan over the past seven years has:
VOSH also leverages inspection resources with specialized settlement agreements involving fatalities, willful violations,
or employers who have poor safety and health records. The settlement agreements require employers to:
- Increased the number of enforcement inspections by 30 percent
- Increased the number of violation instances identified and cited by 40 percent
- Decreased the contest rate of inspections by 180 percent
To give employers an incentive to focus on safety and health concerns after a case is settled, VOSH will excuse
part of the penalty if no violations cited in the original inspection occur within a set number of years and if the
employer requests consultation services.
- Develop comprehensive safety and health programs
- Provide VOSH with monthly lists of active construction sites for inspection scheduling
- Hire a full-time safety and health professional to run the company’s safety and health program
- Implement training programs for employees and supervisors
- Require the company CEO or other high-ranking managers to visit job sites to assure safe and healthful
- Require the company CEO or other high-ranking managers to attend safety and health training courses
- Develop a disciplinary system that documents safety and health violations and a progressive disciplinary
policy culminating in the possible dismissal of employees who do not follow safe practices
Conferences: The 13th annual
Virginia Safety and Health Conference was held June 3-6, 2008, at the Renaissance
Portsmouth Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center in Portsmouth. The theme of the conference was “Building
Management Commitment and Employee Involvement” and 333 people attended. Sessions included how to
prepare for court testimony, crane awareness for non-crane workers, OSHA’s process safety management requirements,
and fatality prevention. Equipment and related products were displayed and demonstrated at more than
45 vendor exhibits. Sessions also offered opportunities to learn about the VPP Program, Workers’ Compensation
and OSHA recordkeeping, what to expect during a VOSH inspection, working teens and hazardous occupations,
and lead hazards in construction renovation.
Consultation Services offers consultations to employers and gives priority to those in highhazard
industries with 250 or fewer employees. In 2008, eight Department of Labor and Industry consultants
provided on-site safety and health services to 610 private sector employers. In the public sector program, 12
employers received on-site services. The consultants conducted 96 promotional visits, nine follow-up visits, and
27 program assists. They identified 2,397 hazards – including 1,944 serious hazards and 453 other-than-serious
hazards – and abated 2,186 serious hazards.
Consultation Services held 71 formal and 601 informal safety and health training sessions in 2008. Thirty-eight
topics were presented in the formal training sessions which reached 838 employers and 2,964 employees.
|Flag ceremony at Georgia-Pacific VPP site.
SHARP and VPP: There are 52 employers in the Virginia SHARP program, which provides
incentives and support to small, high-hazard employers to improve their safety and health
programs. To participate, a company must be in business one year and have Days Away
Restricted/Transferred (DART) and Total Recordable Case (TRC) rates below those of the
latest BLS-published national averages for their industry.
VOSH’s Voluntary Protection Program saw continued growth and an increased level of
involvement in the number of Star worksites in 2008. Five new sites achieved Star status
during the year and there are now 40 active sites. Seven sites were recertified Star status
during 2008. In the spirit of VPP, at least half of the Star sites are involved in mentoring new
|Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, VPP site.
The Department of Labor and Industry’s first alliance is with the Virginia State Association of Occupational
Health Nurses (VSAOHN). Its purpose is to promote safe work practices in businesses covering
emergency management, ergonomics, health and wellness, health care worker safety, and respiratory
protection. VSAOHN has also supported planning the annual Occupational Safety and Health Conference.