Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA) Attorney in Virginia
Construction projects, manufacturing facilities, and job sites are full of risk. Any time you have heavy machinery, multiple employees with multiple employers, tools, and dangerous conditions, accidents and workplace injuries can happen. And when they happen the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) will come calling. That’s when you need an Occupational Safety and Health Attorney and OSHA lawyer in Virginia.
What is OSHA?
In 1970 Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). This is the law governing workplace safety, both at manufacturing facilities and construction sites.
Congress passed the law after finding “that personal injuries and illnesses arising out of work situations impose a substantial burden upon, and are a hindrance to, interstate commerce in terms of lost production, wage loss, medical expenses, and disability compensation payments.” OSHA’s purpose is “to assure, so far as possible, every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions.” Under the OSH Act employers have the responsibility to provide safe work places and to eliminate as many dangerous conditions as possible.
OSHA tries to promote safety at work by:
- Encouraging employers and employees in their efforts to reduce hazards at work
- Stimulating employers and employees to institute new and to perfect existing work place safety programs
- Providing that both employers and employees have responsibilities and rights with respect to achieving work place safety
- Authorizing the Secretary of Labor to set mandatory occupational safety and health standards applicable to businesses
- Providing for research in the field of occupational safety and health
- Developing innovative methods, techniques, and approaches for dealing with occupational safety and health problems
- Providing medical criteria to assure, as far as is practicable, that no employee will suffer worsening health, diminished functional capacity, or a lowered life expectancy because of his work experience
- Providing for safety training programs
- Providing for the establishment of occupational safety and health standards
- Providing an effective enforcement program that includes a prohibition against giving advance notice of any inspection
- Encouraging the states to assume responsibility for the administration and enforcement of their occupational safety and health laws by giving rant money to the states to assist in this area
- Providing for appropriate reporting procedures for work accidents and occupational illnesses
- Encouraging cooperation between labor and management to reduce work-related injuries and diseases
As an OSHA lawyer I recommend reviewing OSHA’s website, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Administrative Regulation Manual, and the DOLI’s Field Operations Manual regularly.
OSHA’s Authority Over Employers
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act covers most non-governmental employers and workers. An employer is any “person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees, but does not include the United States or any State or political subdivision of a State.”
Though state and local government workers are not covered by the federal OSHA, they are covered by Virginia’s OSHA.
What is Virginia’s OSHA?
The OSH Act provides that any state or U.S. territory may submit a proposal for approval of a state occupational safety and health program if it “desires to assume responsibility for development and enforcement therein of occupational safety and health standards …”
OSHA will approve a state plan if it covers all private employees and state and local government workers and:
- designates a specific state agency as being responsible for administering the plan
- provides for the development and enforcement of safety and health standards
- provides for a right of entry and inspection of all workplaces that is at least as effective as the federal OSH Act and includes a prohibition on providing advance notice of inspections
- contains satisfactory assurances that the designated state agency will have the legal authority and qualified personnel to enforce the safety standards
- gives satisfactory assurances that the state will devote adequate funds to the administration and enforcement of the state plan
- contains satisfactory assurances that the state will establish and maintain an effective occupational safety and health program that applies to all government employees in the state
- requires employers in the state to report accidents and other items to the designated state agency
Virginia is one of 27 states with an approved state occupational safety and health plan.
Who Makes the Occupational Safety and Health Rules and Regulations in Virginia?
The Virginia General Assembly has created a Safety and Health Codes Board, which consists of 14 members. The majority of the members are appointed by the Governor.
The Board is responsible for studying and investigating occupational safety issues. It serves as an advisor to the Commissioner of Labor and Industry. And it has the authority to adopt, alter, amend, and repeal rules and regulations to protect and promote the safety and health of employees in Virginia.
When making rules and regulations the Board must adopt the standard which most adequately assures, based on the evidence available at the time, that no employee will suffer material impairment of his health or functional capacity. The standards must be at least as stringent as the standards under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act.
How Can a Virginia OSHA Lawyer and Occupational Safety and Health Attorney Help?
No matter your size or line of business, you must provide your employees with a safe environment in which to work. We have seen an increase in OSHA enforcement. And these actions can affect your company’s bottom line.
As an OSHA lawyer Corey Pollard can help you navigate and comply with OSHA regulations. And when things go wrong, he can help you with OSHA enforcement proceedings.
OSHA attorney Corey Pollard knows workplace safety and health laws. He provides high-quality legal advice in the following occupational health and safety matters:
- Accidents and Catastrophic Events
- Chemical Burns, Explosions, and Fires
- Combustible Dust Explosions
- Construction Accidents
- Grain Entrapment Accidents
- Manufacturing Accidents
- Petroleum Refining Accidents
- Multiemployer Enforcement Policy
- Willful and Repeated Citations
- Conducting Safety and Health Due Diligence and Audits
- Efforts to Achieve Recognition under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP)
- General Duty Clause Violations
- Occupational Safety and Health Act Criminal Referrals and Prosecutions
- OSHA Inspections
- OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program
- OSHA State Plan Inspections
- OSHA Whistleblower Claims
- Process Safety Management Guidelines
- Recordkeeping Violations
- Responding to and managing investigations of major workplace accidents
- VOSH Inspections
- Workplace Safety and Health Audits
We can help clients in the following industries handle OSHA compliance and enforcement matters: builders; chemical and petrochemical; construction; contractors; convenience store chains; developers; food services; health care; manufacturers; pharmaceutical companies; public utilities; refining; and many others. All you have to do is call, text, or email OSHA attorney Corey Pollard today.