OSHA Regulations for the State of Virginia

Did you know that the state of Virginia is one of the 22 states that has its dedicated OSHA-approved State Plan? This means that employees and employers must adhere to the Virginia State Plan in order to comply with and meet the relevant safety and health requirements as recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Virginia OSHA-Approved State Plan

The state of Virginia’s health and safety requirements under the OSHA-approved state plan falls under the purview of the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program, under the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI). Thus, VOSH is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of employees and enforcing the necessary laws and regulations in workplaces to enable the enhancement of occupational health and safety in the state.

Virginia State Plan Coverage

The Virginia State Plan covers private sector employees as well as individuals employed by the state and local government organizations. Maritime state and local government workers are also covered by the OSHA-approved state plan of Virginia. However, some categories of private sector employers and employees are exempted from the Virginia State Plan and are expected to comply with Federal OSHA regulations. They include:

  • Maritime workers including individuals employed in shipyards, marine terminals, and longshoring;
  • Workers, both contract and those of contractor-operated facilities of the United States Postal Service (USPS) mail operations;
  • Workers employed by and working in federal military facilities as well as on other federal enclaves where civil jurisdiction has been ceded by the state to the federal government;
  • Employees of the United States Department of Energy's Southeastern Power Administration Kerr–Philpott System; and
  • Aircraft cabin crew working onboard airplanes.

Similarly, workers employed by the federal government including USPS employees are also not covered by the Virginia State Plan. Additionally, the Virginia State Plan also relinquishes its jurisdiction to Federal OSHA, in instances where any industries, hazards, geographical locations, or any other operations are not within the structure of the OSHA-approved State Plan resulting in the inability to effectively enforce the necessary health and safety standards. Federal OSHA is also responsible for overseeing the anti-retaliation provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Section 11(c), 29 USC 660(c), concerning the private sector. However, investigation of any retaliation cases by the private and state, and local government organizations is undertaken by VOSH as per the provision of the OSH Act Section 11(c).

Virginia State Plan Overview

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (29 CFR 1952.21) contains a brief outline of the Virginia State Plan. Federal OSHA has the right to monitor the enforcement of the Virginia State Plan and also retains the right to update, change or withdraw any safety and health standards under Section 6 of the OSH Act.

Virginia State Plan Standards and Regulations

While the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program has embraced and implemented most Federal OSHA standards to apply to private sector organizations in the state, and also to be adhered to by state and local government organizations, VOSH has also developed several unique legislation and standards that apply only to the state of Virginia. The standards range across the construction industry, agriculture, and general industry.

Summary of VOSH-Specific OSHA Standards

Below are the unique standards that apply to employers and employees under the OSHA-approved Virginia State Plan.

Construction Industry General Industry Agriculture Industry
Medical Services and First Aid Confined Spaces in the Telecommunications Industry Field Sanitation
Overhead High Voltage Line Safety Act Overhead High Voltage Line Safety Act
Reverse Signal Operation Safety Requirements for Vehicles, Machinery, and Equipment for the Construction Industry Reverse Signal Operation Safety Requirements for Vehicles, Machinery, and Equipment
Sanitation Telecommunications, General Approach Distance for Electrical Hazards
Steel Erection Tree Trimming Operations

In addition, VOSH under its OSHA State Plan has also implemented:

  • A Voluntary Protection Program statute; and
  • A regulation that applies to manufacturers of machinery, vehicles, tools, materials, and equipment in the general industry, construction industry, maritime (including state and local government employers), and agriculture industry. The standard guides the manufacturer's specifications and limitations applicable to the operation, training, use, installation, inspection, testing, repair, and maintenance of these products.

Supplementary VOSH Support under the State Plan

VOSH is also responsible for the enforcement of the safety and health programs under the OSHA-approved Virginia State Plan and provides access to voluntary and cooperative programs on aspects such as decreasing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the workplace, as well as on-site consultation services for employers. VOSH is also responsible for overseeing informal conferences and the appeals process regarding OSHA violations and supports efforts to resolve cases.

For complete details on VOSH-specific standards and services, as well as information related to the Virginia State Plan visit here.