The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was created in 1970. From this enabling legislation, the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) was created in 1972. VOSHA is a program of the Vermont Department of Labor. As part of its responsibilities, VOSHA carries out workplace inspections, issues citations for violations of safety regulations found during an inspection and holds informal meetings with the cited employer who elects this option. VOSHA then sends the contested case to the VOSHA Review Board.
What is the VOSHA Review Board?:
The VOSHA Review Board (VRB) is an independent quasi-judicial state agency (i.e., not part of another State department) created under 21 VSA 3 § 230 within the executive branch of the Vermont government. It has the responsibility of hearing any cases involving a workplace safety violation which is contested by an employer and issuing decisions and orders after any hearings or settlement agreements. Hearings are presided over by a hearing officer who is employed as a contractor by the VRB to consider all the evidence presented at the hearing and prepare a written decision.
Any party who disagrees with the hearing officer's decision may ask the VRB to consider the case further by filing a petition for review (appeal). If a party does not request further consideration of the hearing officer's recommendations, any Board member can order review. The VRB has the authority to uphold, modify or vacate citations and/or penalties. Final orders of the VRB can be appealed to the Superior Court.
The mission of the VRB is to provide fair and timely adjudication of workplace safety and health disputes between the Department of Labor and employers. In doing this, the VRB plays a vital role in encouraging safe and healthy workplaces for Vermont workers.