OSHA Enforcement of the “As Effective As” Standard for State Plans: Serving Process or People?

Courtney M. Malveaux *

Since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (“OSH Act”) in 1971, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has perplexed many states tasked with its enforcement. Congress passed the OSH Act to nationalize workplace safety and health standards. It empowered OSHA to enforce these standards, either on its own or through an approved workplace safety and health plan operated by a state (“State Plan”). The OSH Act provides matching funds and oversight for states choosing to operate their own programs on the condition that participating states operate a regime that is “at least as effective as” that of federal OSHA.

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* Commissioner, Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, Richmond, Virginia; J.D., 2002, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William & Mary; M.A., 1998, George Washington University; B.A., 1993, Pennsylvania State University. Amanda Blair, W. Glenn Cox, Kathleen Greene, Elizabeth Southall, and Jay Withrow provided research.



A Vanishing Virginia Constitution?

The Honorable Stephen R. McCullough *

Virginia’s constitution was first established in 1776, when the rift with the mother country thrust upon Virginia colonists the obligation to establish their own government. A rather modest affair when compared to our modern Virginia Constitution, Virginia’s initial charter of government consisted of two documents: a Declaration of Rights and a constitution proper that set forth the more mechanical aspects of operating a government. Chiefly the handiwork of George Mason, the Declaration of Rights called for, among other protections, the separation of powers, religious liberty, freedom of the press, and protections for persons accused of crimes. One writer notes that this “Declaration of Rights is, indeed, a remarkable production. As an intellectual effort, it possesses exalted merit. It is the quintessence of all the great principles and doctrines of freedom which had been wrought out by the people of England from the earliest times.” Although the Virginia Constitution has evolved significantly over the more than two centuries that followed, some of the provisions in the current constitution remain unchanged from the quill of George Mason.

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*   Judge, Court of Appeals of Virginia. Prior to the author’s appointment to the Court of Appeals of Virginia, he served as State Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Virginia; J.D., 1997, University of Richmond School of Law; B.A., 1994, University of Virginia.

The views expressed in this article represent strictly the personal views of the author.

Virginia Should Abolish the Archaic Tort Defense of Contributory Negligence and Adopt a Comparative Negligence Defense in Its Place

Peter Nash Swisher *                                 

Contributory negligence is conduct on the part of the plaintiff, contributing as a proximate cause to the tortuous harm the plaintiff has suffered, which falls below the standard of care to which the plaintiff is required to conform for his or her own protection. When contributory negligence is found, it constitutes a complete defense to the plaintiff’s negligence cause of action, even though the defendant’s negligence may have greatly exceeded the plaintiff’s negligence.

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*   Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law; J.D., 1973, University of California, Hastings College of Law; M.A., 1967, Stanford University; B.A., 1966, Amherst College.