State investigating increase in complaints about employers violating Governor's orders

Posted at 2:33 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 18:34:50-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Field officers with the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health division of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry are fielding a large number of calls from the public about employers violating the Governor's order to shut down non-essential businesses.

Those orders also include and keeping people six feet apart and increasing sanitizing practices at those businesses considered essential.

Jennifer Rose, VOSH Cooperative Programs Director, said they are unable to confirm the total number of requests they've received by phone, email and their website, so far, but said the number is large.

Governor Ralph Northam has urged workers who feel their bosses are not following guidelines, to talk to their bosses first, and if that doesn't work, to contact OSHA.

OSHA is a federal agency, but the state has an agreement with OSHA that gives Virginia authority to regulate occupational safety and health within its jurisdiction for general industry, construction, agriculture, and the public sector.

"We are working closely with the Attorney General's office to determine how we will go about enforcing the guidelines set forth by the governor yesterday,"' Rose said.

Rose added that they continue to enforce all VOSH standards regarding industrial hygiene and sanitation.

In a media briefing Tuesday, Northam urged business owners with questions to email