(a) The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission is hereby established. The Commission shall be composed of three members from among persons who, by reason of training, education or experience, are qualified to carry out the functions of the Commission under this Article. The Governor shall appoint the members of the Commission and name one of the members as chairman of the Commission. The terms of the members of the Commission shall be six years except that the members of the Commission first taking office shall serve, as designated by the Governor at the time of appointment, one for a term of two years, one for a term of four years, and the member of the Commission designated as chairman shall serve for a term of six years. Any vacancy caused by the death, resignation, or removal of a member prior to the expiration of the term for which he was appointed shall be filled by the Governor for the remainder of the unexpired term. The Governor shall fill all vacancies occurring by reason of the expiration of the term of any members of the Commission.
(b) The Commission shall hear and issue decisions on appeals entered from citations and abatement periods and from all types of penalties. Appeals from orders of the Director dealing with conditions or practices that constitute imminent danger shall not be stayed by the Commission until after full and adequate hearing. The Commission in the discharge of its duties under this Article is authorized and empowered to administer oaths and affirmations and institute motions, cause the taking of depositions, interrogatories, certify to official acts, and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, and other records deemed necessary as evidence in connection with any appeal or proceeding for review before the Commission.
(c) The Commission shall meet at least once each calendar quarter but it may hold call meetings or hearings upon at least three days' notice to each member by the chairman and at such time and place as the chairman may fix. The chairman shall be responsible on behalf of the Commission for the administrative operations of the Commission and shall appoint such hearing examiners and other employees as he deems necessary to assist in the performance of the Commission's functions and fix the compensation of such employees with the approval of the Governor. The assignment and removal of hearing examiners shall be made by the Commission, and any hearing examiner may be removed for misfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct, immoral conduct, incompetency, the commission of any crime, or for any other good and adequate reason as found by the Commission. The Commission shall give notice to such hearing examiner, along with written allegations as to the charges against him, and the same shall be heard by the Commission, and its decision shall be final. The compensation of the members of the Commission shall be on a per diem basis and shall be fixed by the Governor. The chairman of the Commission may be paid a higher rate of compensation than the other two members of the Commission. For the purpose of carrying out its duties and functions under this Article, two members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum and official action can be taken only on the affirmative vote of at least two members of the Commission. On matters properly before the Commission the chairman may issue temporary orders, subpoenas, and other temporary types of orders subject to the subsequent review of the Commission. The issuance of subpoenas, orders to take depositions, orders requiring interrogatories and other procedural matters of evidence issued by the chairman shall not be subject to review.
(d) Every official act of the Commission shall be entered of record and its hearings and records shall be open to the public. The Commission is authorized and empowered to make such procedural rules as are necessary for the orderly transaction of its proceedings. Unless the Commission adopts a different rule, the proceedings, as nearly as possible, shall be in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure, G.S. 1A-1. The Commission may order testimony to be taken by deposition in any proceeding pending before it at any stage of such proceeding. Any person, firm or corporation, and its agents or officials, may be compelled to appear and testify and produce like documentary evidence before the Commission. Witnesses whose depositions are taken under this section, and the persons taking such depositions, shall be entitled to the same fees as are paid for like services in the courts of the State.
(e) The rules of procedure prescribed or adopted by the Commission shall provide affected employees or representatives of affected employees an opportunity to participate as parties to hearings under this section.
(f) Any member of the Commission may be removed by the Governor for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or any misfeasance or malfeasance in office. Before such removal the Governor shall give notice of hearing and state the allegations against the member of the Commission, and the same shall be heard by the Governor, and his decision shall be final. The principal office of the Commission shall be in Raleigh, North Carolina, but whenever it deems that the convenience of the public or of the parties may be promoted, or delay or expense may be minimized, the Commission may hold hearings or conduct other proceedings at any place in the State.
(g) In case of a contumacy, failure or refusal of any person to testify before the Commission, give any type of evidence, or to produce any books, records, papers, correspondence, memoranda or other records, such person upon such failure to obey the orders of the Commission may be punished for contempt or any other matter involving contempt as set forth and described by the general laws of the State. The Commission shall issue no order for contempt without first finding the facts involved in the proceeding. Witnesses appearing before the Commission shall be entitled to the same fees as those paid for the services of said witnesses in the courts of the State, and all such fees shall be taxed against the interested parties according to the judgment and discretion of the Commission.
(h) The Director shall consult with the chairman of the Commission with respect to the preparation and presentation to the Commission for adoption of all necessary forms or citations, notices of all kinds, forms of stop orders, all forms and orders imposing penalties and all forms of notices or applications for review by the Commission, and any and all other procedural papers and documents necessary for the administration of the Article as applied to employers and employees and for all procedures and proceedings brought before the Commission for review.
(i) A hearing examiner appointed by the chairman of the Commission shall hear, and make a determination upon, any proceeding instituted before the Commission and may hear any motion in connection therewith, assigned to the hearing examiner, and shall make a report of the determination which constitutes the hearing examiner's final disposition of the proceedings. A copy of the report of the hearing examiner shall be furnished to the Director and all interested parties involved in any appeal or any proceeding before the hearing examiner for the hearing examiner's determination. The report of the hearing examiner shall become the final order of the Commission 30 days from the date of the report as determined by the hearing examiner, unless within the 30-day period any member of the Commission had directed that the report shall be reviewed by the entire Commission as a whole. Upon application for review of any report or determination of a hearing examiner, before the 30-day period expires, the Commission shall schedule the matter for hearing, on the record, except the Commission may allow the introduction of newly discovered evidence, or in its discretion the taking of further evidence upon any question or issue. All interested parties to the original hearing shall be notified of the date, time and place of the hearing and shall be allowed to appear in person or by attorney at the hearing. Upon review of the report and determination by the hearing examiner the Commission may adopt, modify or vacate the report of the hearing examiner and notify the interested parties. The report of the hearing examiner, and the report, decision, or determination of the Commission upon review shall be in writing and shall include findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the reasons or bases for them, on all the material issues of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record. The report, decision or determination of the Commission upon review shall be final unless further appeal is made to the courts under the provisions of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes, as amended, entitled: "Judicial Review of Decisions of Certain Administrative Agencies."
(j) Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c. 300, s. 1. (1973, c. 295, s. 10; c. 1331, s. 3; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 955, ss. 6, 7; 1987, c. 827, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1111, s. 10; 1993, c. 300, s. 1; c. 474, s. 1; 2005-133, ss. 1, 5; 2006-203, s. 21.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014