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VOSH Programs

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How does VOSH Respond to Complaints?

There are two ways that VOSH can respond to a complaint. VOSH can either perform an on-site inspection or an off-site investigation, also known as a "phone/fax investigation."

Although every worker has a right to receive an on-site inspection if certain criteria are met, there are times when a phone/fax (or letter) investigation may be a better alternative. VOSH normally responds to lower priority hazards using a phone/fax approach. This enables the agency to concentrate resources on the most serious workplace hazards. Employees who request a phone/fax investigation do not give up the right to request an on-site inspection of potential violations and hazards if they are not satisfied with the investigation. Workers should call their nearest VOSH Regional or Field Office to discuss their options.

If an off-site investigation is appropriate, VOSH telephones the employer, describes the alleged hazards and then follows up with a fax or letter. VOSH's phone/fax method enables the agency to respond more quickly to hazards when the criteria to conduct an on-site inspection (see below) are not met or where the employee or employee representative requests the phone/fax method. The employer must respond in writing within five days, identifying any problems found and noting corrective actions taken or planned. If the response is adequate, VOSH generally will not conduct an inspection. The employee or employee representative who filed the original complaint will receive a copy of the employer's response and, if still not satisfied, may then request an on-site inspection.

If the employee or employee representative files a written complaint that meets certain criteria described in VOSH Program Directive 02-001C, then VOSH may conduct an on-site inspection. These criteria include claims of serious physical harm that have already resulted in disabling injuries or illnesses or claims of imminent danger situations; written, signed complaints by employees requesting inspections; and situations where the employer provided an inadequate response to a phone/fax investigation.

VOSH Complaint Handling Process

Inspection Priorities

Evaluating Employee Complaints

Worker Involvement in VOSH Inspections

Keeping Workers And Worker Representatives Informed



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Virginia Department of Labor and Industry - Headquarters: Main Street Centre Bldg. 600 East Main Street, Suite 207, Richmond, Virginia 23219-4101
Telephone Number - Office: 804.371.2327 TDD: Fax: 804.786.2376 - Our Hours are from 8:15 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday - Friday