Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970(the Act), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is authorized to conduct workplace inspections and investigations to determine whether employers are complying with standards issued by the agency for safe and healthful workplaces. OSHA also enforces Section 5(a)(1) of the Act, known as the “General Duty Clause,” which requires that every working man and woman must be provided with a safe and healthful workplace. Workplace inspections and investigations are conducted by OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officers, professionals trained in the disciplines of safety and occupational health.
HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT
OSHA provides employers and employees the right to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they believe there is a serious safety and/or health hazard. Additionally, complainants have the right to request that their names be held confidential.Options for filling safety and health complaints are as follows:
Telephone - VIDOSH staff can discuss your complaint, emergency or life-threatening hazards, and respond to any questions you may have at (340) 718-1315. For after hour emergencies, please contact the OSHA Regional Office at1-800-321-OSHA.
Online - Go to the Online Complaint Form. Written complaints that are signed and submitted are considered formal complaints and are more likely to result in onsite OSHA inspections. Please include your name, address and telephone number so we can contact you to follow up. This information is confidential.
Download and Fax/Mail - Download the OSHA complaint form [En Espanol] (or request a copy from VIDOSH) then fax or mail it back to VIDOSH. Written complaints that are signed and submitted are considered formal complaints and are more likely to result in onsite OSHA inspections. Please include your name, address and telephone number so we can contact you to follow up. This information is confidential.
CONSULTATION (COMING SOON)
The Consultation Program exists to help you, the employer and Unions. Consultation assistance can be comprehensive, going well beyond the minimal requirements of OSHA regulations. Consultants can evaluate your safety and health management systems workplace’s mechanical, physical work practices, and environmental hazards.
Using a free consultation service largely funded by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections. An effective workplace safety and health management system at your worksite(s) will enable you to:
Recognize and remove hazards from your workplace.
Protect your workers from injury and illness.
Prevent loss of life at your worksite.
Cultivate informed and alert employees who take responsibility for their own and their coworkers’ safety and for worksite safety as a whole.
- Improve employee morale.
Confidentiality will be strictly maintained during the consultation process. The consultant will only report hazard information to OSHA if the employer fails to correct an imminent danger or serious hazards.
The On-Site Consultants Will Not
Hazard Correction and Follow-Through
The consultant will send to the company a detailed written report about 20 days after the closing conference that explains the findings and confirms agreed upon correction periods. A list of hazards is included in the report and must be posted electronically or in an easily observable area by employees for three days or until the listed hazards is corrected. Consultants may also contact the business from time to time to check progress, and employers may always contact them for assistance. Employers using the consultation service are deferred from OSHA’s scheduled inspections while the consultation remains “in progress.” This period encompasses the time between the onset of the consultation and the final correction dates, including any extensions.
The Virgin Islands also has an agreement with OSHA, under Section 23(g) of the OSH Act to provide free onsite consultation services to the public sector. For more information on this service, please contact the Onsite Consultation Program at (340) 718-1315.
VIDOSH will provide and coordinating compliance assistance and resources. These resources include print and electronic information and assistance tools, education and training.
EDUCATION/OUTREACH & TRAINING
If a Public Sector employee has knowledge of wrongdoing on the part of their employer, the employees may take steps to point out the activities and be free from fear of retaliation. This is the basis of whistleblower protection laws. Complaints can be accepted orally or only in writing.
The Whistleblower procedures ensure that employees are free to participate in safety and health activities. Section 11(c) of the OSHA Act prohibits any employer from discharging or in any manner retaliating or discriminating against any employee because the employee has exercised their rights under the Act. These rights include complaining to OSHA and seeking an OSHA inspection, participating in an OSHA inspection, and participating or testifying in any proceeding related to an OSHA inspection.
"Discrimination" can include the following actions:
There are many statutes that protect employees who engage in whistle-blowing activities. A recent example is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which mandates a number of reforms in the field of corporate governance and which include broad whistle-blower protection to those who report violations. Other examples include various federal discrimination statutes, which prohibit retaliation against individuals who file a claim or who oppose discrimination by other means. The Virgin Islands The Surface Transportation Assistance Act
Firing or laying off
Denying overtime or promotion
Denial of benefits
Failure to hire or rehire Intimidation
Reassignment affecting promotion prospects
Reducing pay or hours
Virgin Islands Division of Occupational Safety and Health is responsible for enforcing Public Sector whistleblower protection under a number of laws. Each law requires that complaints be filed within a certain number of days after the alleged retaliation. You may file complaints by telephone or in writing under the
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
The International Safety Container Act
The Energy Reorganization Act
The Clean Air Act
The Safe Drinking Water Act
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act
The Toxic Substances Control Act
The Solid Waste Disposal Act
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century
The Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002
The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Under the following laws, complaints must be filed in:
Occupational Safety and Health Act (30 days)
Surface Transportation Assistance Act (180 days)
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (90 days)
International Safe Container Act (60 days)
Federal Rail Safety Act (180 days)
National Transit Systems Security Act (180 days)
The public sector consists of establishments of federal, state, and local government agencies that administer, oversee, and manage public programs and have executive, legislative, or judicial authority over other institutions within a given area. To obtain more information on whistleblower laws, go to www.osha.gov, and click on the link for “Whistleblower Protection.”
Clean Air Act (30 days)
Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation and Liability Act (30 days)
Energy Reorganization Act (180 days)
Federal Water Pollution Control Act (30 days)
Pipeline Safety Improvement Act (180 days)
Safe Drinking Water Act (30 days)
Sarbanes-Oxley Act (90 days)
Solid Waste Disposal Act (30 days)
Toxic Substances Control Act (30 days)
Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform
Act for the 21st Century (90 days)