Home News Local news TURNBULL SIGNS OSHA BILL, CRISIS AVERTED

TURNBULL SIGNS OSHA BILL, CRISIS AVERTED

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The crisis involving the V.I. Occupational Safety and Health Program has been averted, as Gov. Charles Turnbull signed into a law Tuesday almost three quarters of a million dollars for the program.
Turnbull had to call a special session of the Senate last week so it could appropriate $748,428 for the local OSHA program from the Caribbean Basin Initiative Fund. Regional administrators of the federal OSHA program had, according to Turnbull and Labor Commissioner Sonia Jacobs Dow, threatened to take over the V.I operation because of a lack of staff, training and equipment.
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 hasn’t been able to meet the match.
At last week’s special session, Dow told senators that Patricia Clark, OSHA’s Region II administrator, had an agenda to "colonize" the local program. Turnbull also noted that a takeover of the program could have opened "the door to other takeovers by the federal government."
"With funding in place, the Department of Labor will now be able to hire staff, provide mandatory training and purchase protective field equipment for compliance personnel," Turnbull said, adding that the appropriation "mutes any effort" to remove the OSHA program from the local government.
Following last week’s Senate session, Clark and a Region II spokeswoman declined to comment in any detail on the issue.

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