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Virginia State Plan

About the Virginia State Plan [Virginia State Plan Website]

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) administers a State Plan Program consistent with the provisions of Section 18(e) of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act ("the Act"). Section 40.1-1 of the Code of Virginia, as amended, provides that the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry is responsible in the Commonwealth for administering and enforcing occupational safety and health activities as required by the Act. The Commissioner of Labor and Industry is appointed by the Governor and is authorized by §40.1-2.1 of the Code of Virginia to enter into such agreements with Federal OSHA as are necessary to assist in the enforcement of the Act. In addition, §40.1-51 of the Code of Virginia, as amended, provides that the State Health Commissioner shall be responsible, upon request, for advising and providing technical aid to the Commissioner on matters pertaining to occupational health.

The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board ("the Board") is responsible for the promulgation of all occupational safety and health standards for enforcement by the Department of Labor and Industry. The Board has adopted and will continue to adopt procedures, operations and criteria consistent with the Act, including those which have been established by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and does so for the benefit of the Commonwealth. The Board is a regulatory board appointed by the Governor and has the authority in the Commonwealth under §40.1-22 of the Code of Virginia, to adopt, amend or repeal standards, as necessary, pertaining to safety and health issues, including conditions for which no federal standards have been established.

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, headquartered in Richmond, consists of separate program groups with representatives stationed in different regional and field offices located in Abingdon, Lynchburg, Manassas, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Verona, and Winchester. Each group has been delegated certain powers by the Commissioner to carry out the specific statutory mandates of the Department.

The Virginia State Plan was initially approved on September 28, 1976. The Department of Labor and Industry was awarded a Certificate of Final State Plan Approval for the VOSH Program by federal OSHA on November 30, 1988.

Jurisdiction

The Virginia State Plan applies to all public and private sector places of employment in the state, with the exception of federal employees, the United States Postal Service, private sector maritime, federal military facilities, and other federal enclaves where the state has ceded jurisdiction to the federal government. See 29 CFR 1952.375.

Regulations and Standards

The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program, as all other State Plans, must set job safety and health standards that are "at least as effective as" comparable federal standards. Most State Plans adopt standards identical to federal OSHA. States also have the option to promulgate additional standards covering other hazards or conditions not addressed by federal standards.

The vast majority of the VOSH standards are identical to federal OSHA standards. All standards adopted by the Board from 29 CFR Parts 1910, 1926, and 1928 shall apply by their own terms to all employers who have employees working at places of employment within the jurisdiction of the State Plan of the Commonwealth. Standards from Part 1910 apply to employers engaged in general industry; in addition, certain standards from Part 1910 determined by federal OSHA and the Board to be applicable to the construction industry also apply to the construction industry in Virginia. Standards adopted from 29 CFR Part 1926 apply to the construction industry, and standards adopted from 29 CFR Part 1928 apply to agricultural operations within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. In addition, standards from 29 CFR Part 1915, Shipyard Employment; 29 CFR Part 1917, Marine Terminals; and 29 CFR Part 1918, Longshoring, have been adopted for state plan use in the public sector only.

Any new or unique standard adopted Virginia for which no federal OSHA counterpart exists shall apply as specified by the terms of that standard. The VOSH Administrative Regulations, 16 VAC 25-60, et seq., set forth rules defining the applicability of occupational safety and health standards in Virginia. There are several standards that are unique to Virginia. In these instances, federal OSHA either does not have a comparable standard addressing the specific hazard or condition or, if it does, the federal standard differs substantially.

The VOSH Program also assures compliance with the Virginia Overhead High Voltage Line Safety Act that was enacted by the General Assembly in 1989 and codified at §§ 59.1-406 to 414 of the Code of Virginia. This statute is designed to "promote the safety and protection of persons engaged in work or activity in the vicinity of overhead high voltage lines." This statutory standard is directly enforced in the same manner as VOSH regulatory standards.

Also related to the VOSH program are:

The Department's Asbestos Notification and Permit Program was established by the General Assembly in 1992 and codified at §§40.1-51.20 to 51.22 of the Code of Virginia, as part of a larger multi-agency state program, requiring licensing and certification of asbestos contractors and workers by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). Identical provisions were added for lead contractors in 1996.

In 1993, the Department entered into an enforcement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). DOLI was authorized by EPA to provide direct enforcement in Virginia of certain parts of 40 CFR Subpart M, dealing with asbestos under the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations of the federal Clean Air Act. Specifically, DOLI is responsible for demolition and renovation activities, spraying, insulating materials, waste disposal for such operations, and active waste disposal sites. The Board is authorized to formulate definitions, rules, regulations, and standards which shall be designed to ensure the proper demolition and renovation of asbestos facilities and effect compliance with the asbestos NESHAP requirements for federal EPA. Such standards must be at least as stringent as the asbestos regulations passed pursuant to §112 of the Clean Air Act.

For more information concerning Occupational Safety or Health Compliance, please see the Contact Information in the sidebar.

Enforcement Programs

The VOSH Program conducts inspections of private and public sector employers under its jurisdiction to assure compliance with the occupational safety and health laws, standards and regulations of the Commonwealth. Employees have the right to file a safety and health complaint with VOSH and employers must report worksite fatalities and catastrophes. The Enforcement Program may issue citations listing alleged violations of occupational safety and health standards and regulations to employers, determines dates by which violations must be abated, and may propose civil monetary penalties for certain types of violations. Public sector employers are not issued civil monetary penalties.

Voluntary and Cooperative Programs

The Virginia Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) recognizes and promotes companies/agencies with comprehensive safety and health programs that go beyond VOSH standards to protect workers. Worksites establish a cooperative relationship between management, labor and VOSH; and have safety and health management systems that follow rigorous criteria established by VOSH. Benefits identified by VPP worksites include: improved employee motivation to work safely, leading to better quality and productivity; reduced workers' compensation costs; fewer lost workday injuries; and community recognition.

The Department of Labor and Industry provides On-Site Consultation services to help employers better understand and voluntarily comply with the VOSH standards. This voluntary program helps employers identify and correct potential safety and health hazards. Priority is given to employers with 250 or fewer employees in high hazard workplaces.

The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) was developed to provide incentives and support to smaller, high-hazard employers to work with employees to develop, implement, and continuously improve safety and health programs. SHARP recognizes worksites that operate exemplary safety and health programs that result in the immediate and long-term prevention of job related injuries and illnesses.

Policies and Procedures

VOSH operating procedures include the VOSH Administrative Regulations Manual, Closing Conference Guide, and Field Operations Manual.

Informal Conferences and Appeals

Each employer, employee, or employee representative may request an informal conference after receipt of the citation(s) of alleged violations. The informal conference may be requested through the individual VOSH Regional Director at the applicable regional office address.

As detailed in the VOSH Administrative Regulations, an employer who has received a citation or proposed penalty may contest the citation by notifying VOSH in writing of the contest. The employer must mail or deliver by hand the notice of contest within 15 working days from the receipt of the citation or proposed penalty. Employees or their authorized representatives may contest in writing any or all of the abatement dates set for violations if they believe them to be unreasonable. Employees have 15 working days from the date the employer received the citation and notification of penalty to contest. The filing of an employee contest does not suspend an employer's obligation to abate. Once VOSH has received written notification of a contest of citation or proposed penalty, VOSH will attempt to resolve the matter by settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, VOSH will then initiate judicial proceedings by referring the contested issues to the Commonwealth's Attorney for the locality where the alleged violation occurred and arrange for the filing of a complaint and issuance of a summons to the employer. There is no system of administrative law judges for VOSH violation resolution. A trial will be scheduled before the circuit court in the jurisdiction in which the violation occurred.

The final determination on whether to appeal an adverse judicial decision will be made by the Commissioner after consultation with the Office of the State Attorney General and/or the applicable Commonwealth's Attorney. Appeals from circuit court may be heard by the Virginia Court of Appeals. The Department has thirty (30) days to file an appeal with the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Other Resources

VOSH Jobs Safety and Health Poster

Other program related information

Contact Information

Virginia Department of Labor and Industry
  • Main Street Centre
  • 600 East Main Street
  • Richmond, VA 23219
  • (804) 371-2327
  • William Burge, Assistant Commissioner
  • (804) 786-2327
  • (804) 371-6524
  • Ronald L. Graham, VOSH Health Director
  • (804) 786-0574
  • (804) 371-6524
  • Paul B. Schilinski, VOSH Safety Director
  • (703) 392-0900 or (804) 786-7776
  • (703) 392-0308
  • Jay Withrow, Director, Division of Legal Support
  • (804) 371-2327
  • (804) 371-6524

Disclaimer

OSHA makes every effort to ensure that the information on this page is accurate and up to date, but changes in state law and procedures affecting the information on this page are beyond OSHA's control. Contact state program staff directly to verify important information.

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