Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 40.1. Labor and Employment
Chapter 1. Department of Labor and Industry
10/17/2021

§ 40.1-6. Powers and duties of Commissioner.

The Commissioner shall:

1. Have general supervision and control of the Department;

2. Enforce the provisions of this title and shall cause to be prosecuted all violations of law relating to employers or business establishments before any court of competent jurisdiction;

3. Make such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the enforcement of this title and procedural rules as are required to comply with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (P.L. 91-596). All such rules and regulations shall be subject to Chapter 40 (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) of Title 2.2;

4. In the discharge of his duties, have power to take and preserve testimony, examine witnesses, and administer oaths and to file a written or printed list of relevant interrogatories and require full and complete answers to the same to be returned under oath within 30 days of the receipt of such list of questions;

5. Have power to appoint such representatives as may be necessary to aid the Commissioner in his work, with the duties of such representatives to be prescribed by the Commissioner;

6. Determine the prevailing wage required to be paid under a public contract for public works as provided in § 2.2-4321.3 and perform all other duties imposed on the Commissioner under such section. Any determination of the prevailing wage rate made by the Commissioner shall be based on applicable prevailing wage rate determinations made by the U.S. Secretary of Labor under the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. § 276 et seq., as amended;

7. Have power to require that accident, injury, and occupational illness records and reports be kept at any place of employment and that such records and reports be made available to the Commissioner or his duly authorized representatives upon request, and to require employers to develop, maintain, and make available such other records and information as are deemed necessary for the proper enforcement of this title;

8. Have power, upon presenting appropriate credentials to the owner, operator, or agent in charge:

a. To enter without delay and at reasonable times any business establishment, construction site, or other area, workplace, or environment where work is performed by an employee of any employer in this Commonwealth; and

b. To inspect and investigate, during regular working hours and at other reasonable times and within reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner, without prior notice unless such notice is authorized by the Commissioner or his representative, any such business establishment or place of employment and all pertinent conditions, structures, machines, apparatus, devices, equipment, and materials therein, and to question privately any such employer, officer, owner, operator, agent, or employee. If such entry or inspection is refused, prohibited, or otherwise interfered with, the Commissioner shall have power to seek from a court having equity jurisdiction an order compelling such entry or inspection;

9. Make rules and regulations governing the granting of temporary or permanent variances from all standards promulgated by the Board under this title. Any interested or affected party may appeal to the Board, the Commissioner's determination to grant or deny such a variance. The Board may, as it sees fit, adopt, modify, or reject the determination of the Commissioner;

10. Have authority to issue orders to protect the confidentiality of all information reported to or otherwise obtained by the Commissioner, the Board, or the agents or employees of either that contains or might reveal a trade secret. Such information shall be confidential and shall be limited to those persons who need such information for purposes of enforcement of this title. Violations of such orders shall be punishable as civil contempt upon application to the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond. It shall be the duty of each employer to notify the Commissioner or his representatives of the existence of trade secrets where he desires the protection provided herein; and

11. Serve as executive officer of the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board and of the Apprenticeship Council and see that the rules, regulations, and policies that they promulgate are carried out.

Code 1950, § 40-4; 1962, c. 66; 1970, c. 321; 1972, c. 567; 1973, c. 425; 1984, cc. 590, 734; 1987, c. 165; 1997, c. 919; 1998, c. 97; 2004, c. 592; 2020, cc. 1216, 1243.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.