News Release USDL: 95-350
Monday, September 11, 1995
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Seeks Comments On Proosal To Suspend Final Approval Of
Vigrin Islands State Plan
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
today announced it is reconsidering its final approval of the
Virgin Islands state occupational safety and health program and
therefore will reinstitute concurrent federal enforcement. The
safety and health program is run by the Virgin Islands Department
OSHA said that the Virgin Islands program is not working
effectively in the most basic areas of safety and health
Virgin Islands Commissioner of Labor Lisa Harris-Moorhead
has agreed to voluntarily relinquish the state plan's final
approval status, has requested the reassertion of concurrent
federal enforcement jurisdiction, and has pledged to accomplish
necessary corrective actions.
Assistant U.S. Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety
and Health Joseph A. Dear said, "We are disappointed, but hope
that by working together, the problems will be corrected and the
Virgin Islands will be able to resume its independent enforcement
status for occupational safety issues.
"Commissioner Harris-Moorhead has acted on behalf of the
governor in committing the state to making Virgin Islands
workplaces safe and healthful and to providing 'marked
improvement' in the state's program by December," Dear said.
The Puerto Rico Department of Labor, which administers the
neighboring approved state plan, has pledged assistance to the
Virgin Islands. Labor Commissioner Harris-Moorhead expressed her
appreciation for the help promised by both the OSHA area office
in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rico Department of
Labor. "The idea of partnering will assure worker protection and
provide the needed training for Virgin Islands' compliance and
administrative personnel," she said.
Federal OSHA compliance officers will begin accompanying
Virgin Island inspectors immediately, but no federal citations
will be issued until a final decision is published.
OSHA is requesting written comments on its reconsideration
of final approval for the Virgin Islands state plan. Comments
and requests for an informal hearing must be received by Oct. 16,
1995 (35 days after publication in the Federal Register).
A decision revoking or suspending final approval for the
plan would not rule out eventual federal approval of the plan and
would not affect the legal authority of the Virgin Islands to
carry on enforcement activities under the state plan.
Instead, revocation or suspension restores the state plan to
"initial approval" status. It also permits resumption of
concurrent federal enforcement including independent federal or
joint state and federal inspections. Appropriate federal
citations and penalties can be issued and the Occupational Safety
and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) can review contested cases.
Federal enforcement will reflect all new OSHA compliance
initiatives that promote voluntary compliance through common
sense regulation and reward employers who take steps to provide
Written comments and requests for an informal hearing must
be submitted in quadruplicate to Docket No. T-030, Docket Office,
Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW,
Washington, D.C., telephone (202) 219-7894. Comments may be
transmitted by facsimile to (202) 219-5046, provided the original
and three copies are sent to the Docket Office. Comments and
requests for an informal hearing will be available for public
inspection and copying in the Docket Office between 8:15 a.m. and
4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A copy of the applicable evaluation reports, the state's
letter and corrective action plan may be inspected and copied
during normal business hours at the following locations: OSHA
Technical Data Center (TDC), Room N-2625, U.S. Department of
Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.; Office of the
Regional Administrator, Occupational Safety and Health
Administrator, 201 Varick St., Room 670, New York, N.Y. 10014;
Puerto Rico Area Office, Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, U.S. Courthouse & FOB, Carlos Chardon Ave., Room
555, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00918; and Virgin Islands Department
of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Division, 3012 Golden
Rock, Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands 00820.
Notice of the action is published in the Sept. 11, 1995