June 27, 2003 — Private-sector employers and employees must report all complaints regarding safety and health issues in the private-sector workplace, to the Puerto Rico area office of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), effective July 1, 2003.
Effective that date, said a release from the V.I. Labor Department, the authority for enforcement of safety and health standards in the private sector will be transferred to the Puerto Rico OSHA office in San Juan, and the enforcement program will be managed out of that office. The telephone number is (787) 277-1560.
Since 1973, when the V.I. Division of Occupational Safety and Health was established, explained Labor Commissioner Cecil R. Benjamin, a safety and health enforcement program has been conducted in both public and private sectors. The department, however, "has determined that in order to meet the needs of its public sector employees, who constitute the majority of the Virgin Islands workforce, it is necessary to focus its attention and limited resources on the public sector."
Consultation services, however, will continue to be provided to both sectors. Consultation is a free service offered to employers to assist in identifying potential violations of OSHA standards, will allowing employers an opportunity to correct those conditions without enforcement action.
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