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Compliance & Enforcement

The State of Connecticut Labor Laws and Regulations (31-374 et seq) authorizes CONN-OSHA to conduct workplace inspections to determine whether public employers are complying with standards issued by the Connecticut Department of Labor for safe and healthful workplaces. The inspections are normally conducted without advance notice. In fact, alerting an employer without proper authorization in advance of an inspection can bring a fine up to $1000.00 and/or a 6-month jail term.


Public Employee Complaints

Public sector employees (i.e. municipal and state agency employees) and representatives of public sector employees are afforded the opportunity under Section 31-374(f)(1) of the Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Act to request, in writing, a workplace inspection by

CONN-OSHA if the employee(s)/representative(s) believes one of the following:

  • A Violation of a Safety or Health Standard Exists

  • that Threatens Physical Harm.
         
        OR
  • An Imminent Danger Exists.
NOTE: Provisions under the Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Act protect public sector employees from being discriminated against for filing complaints with CONN-OSHA. The specific legislation is codified as Labor Law Sec. 31-379.
 

(Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to download the following form)

Public Employee Complaint Form  (PDF, 253KB)

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What Employers Should Expect During an Inspection

1. When the CONN-OSHA compliance officer arrives at your workplace, (s)he will display official credentials and ask to meet an appropriate employer representative. You should always ask to see the compliance officer's credentials.

2. The compliance officer will conduct an opening conference to explain the purpose of the visit, the scope of the inspection, and the standards that apply. You will be given a copy of an employee complaint that may be involved (with the employee's name deleted, if the employee has requested anonymity).

NOTE: An authorized employee representative is given the opportunity to attend the opening conference and to accompany the compliance officer during the inspection.
3. After the opening conference, the compliance officer will proceed through your establishment to inspect work areas for safety or health hazards. NOTE: Employers are required to provide access to the following:  
  • Personnel and Union Representatives.

  • Injury and Illness Records.

  • Safety and Health Programs.

  • All Work and Storage Areas.

  • 4. At the conclusion of the inspection, the compliance officer will conduct a closing conference to discuss all unsafe or unhealthful conditions observed. The inspector will also indicate apparent violations for which citations and proposed penalties may be issued or recommended.

    5. After the compliance officer reports findings, the CONN-OSHA director will determine whether citations will be issued and whether penalties will be proposed.

    6. A written notice of citations and proposed penalties will be sent to you by certified mail.

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    Helpful Hints For Employers
    • Have a person knowledgeable in safety and health accompany the compliance officer to take notes regarding the alleged violations. Since no citations or penalties are issued at the time of an inspection, note taking during an inspection is useful in beginning the abatement process before the citations are received by mail.

    • Some apparent violations detected by the compliance officer can be corrected immediately. When they are corrected on the spot, the compliance officer records such corrections to help in judging the employer's good faith in compliance.

    • During the closing conference, you may want to produce records to show compliance efforts and to provide information that can help CONN-OSHA determine the time needed to abate an alleged violation.

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    Employer Options After An Inspection

    After an inspection you may take any of the following courses of action:

    1. Request an Informal Conference with the CONN-OSHA Director within 15 working days from the date you receive a written notice of citations and proposed penalties.

    2. Abate the hazards identified and pay the penalties associated with the hazards (if applicable).

    NOTE: Hazards classified as Other do not have penalties. 3. Contest in writing any or all of the following within 15 working days from the date you receive the written notice of citations and proposed penalties:
  • Citations

  • Proposed penalties

  • Abatement dates

    •  
    NOTE: It is suggested that an informal conference be held prior to contesting (in writing) citations, proposed penalties, and/or abatement dates.
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    Informal Conferences

    An informal conference gives you the opportunity to do the following:

  •  Ask for penalty reductions.

  •  Resolve disputed citations and penalties.

  •  Discuss ways to correct violations.

  •  Establish alternate abatement dates.

  •   NOTE: Informal conferences must be scheduled within 15 working days from the date you receive the written inspection report.

    NOTE: Informal conferences do not take the place of filing a written notice if you desire to contest citations, proposed penalties, and/or abatement dates.

    The following actions will increase your likelihood of receiving a penalty reduction:
  • Demonstrating enhanced procedures and accountability for self-monitoring to prevent recurrence of same and similar conditions may result in a moderate reduction.

  • Demonstrating improved, periodic self-inspections of facilities to prevent repetitive-type safety and health hazards and eliminate the introduction of new potential hazards into the workplace may result in a substantial reduction.

  • Committing to a comprehensive safety and health program which includes strong management leadership, accountability, follow-up, and employee participation may result in a maximum reduction.

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    Informal Conference Preparation

    The following are recommendations for Informal Conference preparation:

    Begin putting corrective actions in place before the conference. If you are aware of the violations, you can begin abatement as soon as possible; you do not have to wait until the citation is received.

    At the informal conference, provide evidence of the corrective actions that have been or are being taken to abate the violations. Evidence can include items such as the following:

  • Purchase orders.

  • Photographs of corrections

  • Drafts of safety and health programs.

  • Documentation of employee training.

  • Documentation of policies or procedures being implemented to assist in complying with the citations.

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    Distinction Between Compliance and Consulting
    • CONN-OSHA enforces state occupational safety and health standards only in municipalities and state agencies.

    • CONN-OSHA offers consulting services to state agencies and municipalities as well as to private businesses in Connecticut. There is no cost for consulting services.

    • There is no exchange of information between CONN-OSHA consultants and compliance officers. If consulting services are in progress, a compliance officer typically will not go to that site unless one of the following occurs:

      • An employee makes a complaint.

      • A death occurs at that site.

      • Three or more individuals are hospitalized as a result of one particular incident.

    • Penalties and citations are not issued as a part of the consulting program.

    • On rare occasions, if the designated representative of your state agency/municipality will not comply with the corrective timetables agreed upon by both parties, the consultant may refer the case to the CONN-OSHA Director. The Director may refer the case to enforcement when all options are exhausted.

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    Last Updated: February 04, 2014


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