Home News Local news TURNBULL TO SENATE: FIND OSHA FUNDS, OR ELSE

TURNBULL TO SENATE: FIND OSHA FUNDS, OR ELSE

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With the federal government threatening to take over the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration program, the governor called on Friday for a special session of the Senate to find funding for the program.
Gov. Charles Turnbull told Senate President Vargrave Richards that the federal OSHA program’s regional administrator is in the territory and is "strongly advocating" the removal of the local program from V.I. government control.
But a "far greater concern is the fact that if we allow a federal takeover of the OSHA program, it opens the door to other takeovers by the federal government," Turnbull said.
If Region II administrator Patricia Clark "is successful," Turnbull said, "employees seeking to file complaints regarding health and safety violations in the workplace will be required to seek off-island representatives. Additionally, the employees working within the OSHA program may face termination."
He called on the Senate to consider two amendments to two acts which, if approved, would appropriate almost $750,000 for the local OSHA program from the Caribbean Basin Initiative Fund.
"These appropriations are necessary because. . . the local government has been unable to hire staff, provide mandatory training and purchase protective and field equipment for compliance personnel because of its fiscal crisis," Turnbull wrote to Richards.
The local OSHA program is funded by a 50-50 grant, meaning the V.I. government must match what the federal government provides. Turnbull said that for the last eight fiscal quarters the V.I. government has been unable to do this.

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