2020 Vermont Statutes
Title 21 - Labor
Chapter 3 - Safety
§ 206. Inspections and investigations
§ 206. Inspections and investigations
(a) The Commissioner or the Director, or their agents, may enter upon a premise, upon presenting appropriate credentials to the occupant, at reasonable times, for the purpose of inspecting the premises within reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner, to determine whether the provisions of the VOSHA Code and this chapter and the rules adopted thereunder are being observed. If entry is refused, the Commissioner or the Director may apply to a Superior judge for an order to enforce the rights given to the Commissioner and the Director and their agents under this section.
(b) In making inspections and investigations, the Commissioner or the Director, as the case may be, may require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence under oath. Witnesses shall be paid the same fees and mileage as are paid witnesses in the Superior courts in criminal cases. In case of a contumacy, failure, or refusal of any person to obey such an order, any Superior Court within the jurisdiction of which the person is found or resides or transacts business, upon the application by the Commissioner, shall have jurisdiction to issue to the person an order requiring him or her to appear to produce evidence if, as, and when so ordered, and to give testimony relating to the matter under investigation or in question. Any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.
(c) No person shall give advance notice of any inspection under the VOSHA Code, without prior authority of the Commissioner or the Director, which shall be in writing.
(d) Under the VOSHA Code, the Secretary of Human Services and the Commissioner shall adopt rules regarding inspections and investigations to conform with the provisions and requirements of the Act.
(e) Subject to regulations issued by the Commissioner or Secretary, a representative of the employer and a representative authorized by his or her employees shall be given an opportunity to accompany the Commissioner or Secretary or his or her authorized agent during the physical inspection of any workplace under subsection (a) of this section for the purpose of aiding such inspection. Where there is no authorized employee representative, the Commissioner or Secretary or his or her authorized agent shall consult with a reasonable number of employees concerning matters of safety and health in the workplace.
(f) Any employees or representative of employees who believes that a violation of a safety or health standard exists that threatens physical harm, or that an imminent danger exists, may request an inspection by giving notice to the Commissioner or Secretary or his or her authorized agent of the violation or danger. The notice shall be reduced to writing, shall set forth with reasonable particularity the grounds for the notice, and shall be signed by the employees or representative of employees. A copy of the notice shall be provided the employer or his or her agent no later than at the time of inspection, except that, upon the request of the person giving such notice, his or her name and the names of individual employees referred to therein shall not appear in the copy or on any record published, released, or made available by the Commissioner or Secretary. If upon receipt of the notification the Commissioner or Secretary determines there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation or danger exists, he or she shall make a special inspection in accordance with the provisions of this section as soon as practicable to determine if a violation or danger exists. If the Commissioner or Secretary determines there are no reasonable grounds to believe that a violation or danger exists, he or she shall notify the employees or representative of the employees in writing of such determination.
(g) Prior to or during any inspection of a workplace, any employees or representative of employees employed in such workplace may notify the Commissioner or Secretary or any agent of the Commissioner or Secretary responsible for conducting the inspection, in writing, of any violation of this Code which they have reason to believe exists in such workplace. The Commissioner shall, by regulation, establish procedures for informal review of any refusal by a representative of the Commissioner to issue a citation with respect to any such alleged violation and shall furnish the employees or representative of employees requesting such review a written statement of the reasons for the Commissioner's final disposition of the case. (Added 1971, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1973, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 9.)