The Virgin Islands State plan was converted to a public employee only occupational safety and health program on July 1, 2003, and received initial approval on July 23, 2003. It is administered and enforced by the Virgin Islands Department of Labor, Division of Occupational Safety and Health ("the agency," or "VIDOSH") throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands (the "Virgin Islands"). The Virgin Islands public employee program, established by Executive Order 200-76 on July 11, 1975, extends full authority under Virgin Islands Act No. 3421, Section 16 (April 27, 1973) and implementing regulations to the agency to enforce and administer all laws and rules protecting the safety and health of employees of the Government of the Virgin Islands, its departments, agencies and instrumentalities, including any political subdivisions. It covers all activities of public employers and employees and places of public employment. The Territory has adopted all Federal standards promulgated as of June 2003, and has given assurances that it will continue to adopt and update all Federal standards, revisions and amendments. The plan is accompanied by a statement of the Governor's support
The plan establishes procedures for variances and the protection of employees from hazards under a variance; insures inspection in response to complaints; provides employer and employee representatives an opportunity to accompany inspectors and to call attention to possible violations before, during, and after inspections; notification to employees or their representatives when no compliance action is taken as a result of alleged violations, including informal review; notification of employees of their protection; protection of employees against discharge or discrimination in terms and conditions of employment; includes provision for prompt notices to employers and employees of violations of standards and abatement requirements and either sanctions or alternative mechanisms to assure abatement; employer's right to appeal citations for violations, abatement periods and any proposed sanctions and/or compulsory process; employee's right to appeal abatement periods; and employee participation in review proceedings. Also included are provisions for right of entry for inspection, prohibition of advance notice of inspection and the requirement for both employers and employees to comply with the applicable rules, standards, and orders, and employer obligations to maintain records and provide reports as required. Further, the plan provides assurances of a fully trained adequate staff and sufficient funding, and for voluntary compliance programs, including a public sector consultation program.
Note: The Virgin Islands' received initial approval for a comprehensive State plan covering the private (safety only) and public sectors on September 11, 1973 (38 FR 24896) and final approval under Section 18(e) of the Act on April 17, 1984 (49 FR 16766). Final approval status for that State plan was suspended and full Federal concurrent enforcement authority was reinstated on November 13, 1995 (60 FR 56950). Effective July 1, 2003, the Virgin Islands withdrew the portion of its State plan which covered private sector employment, and exclusive Federal enforcement jurisdiction for the private sector resumed.
[68 FR 43460, July 23, 2003]