§ 95-140.  Procedures to counteract imminent dangers.

 (a) The superior courts of this State shall have jurisdiction, upon petition of the Commissioner, to restrain any conditions or practices in any place of employment which are such that a danger exists, which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately or before the imminence of such danger can be eliminated through the enforcement procedures otherwise  provided by this Article. Any order issued under this section may require such steps to be taken as may be necessary to avoid, correct,  or remove such imminent danger and prohibit the employment or presence of any individual in locations or under conditions where such imminent danger exists, except those individuals whose presence is necessary to avoid, correct or remove such imminent danger or to maintain the capacity of a continuous process operation to assume normal operations without a complete cessation of operations, or where a cessation of operations is necessary to permit such to be accomplished in a safe and orderly manner.

 (b) Upon the filing of any such petition the superior court shall, without the necessity of showing an adequate remedy at law, have jurisdiction to grant injunctive relief or temporary restraining order pending the outcome of an enforcement proceeding pursuant to this Article. The proceeding shall be as provided under the statutes and Rules of Civil Procedure of this State except that no temporary restraining order issued without notice shall be effective for a period longer than five days.

 (c) Whenever and as soon as an inspector concludes that conditions or practices described in this section exist in any place of employment, he shall inform the affected employees and employers of the danger and that he is recommending to the Commissioner that relief be sought. If the Commissioner arbitrarily or capriciously fails to seek relief under this section, any employee who may be injured by reason of such failure, or the representative of such employee, may bring an action against the Commissioner in the superior court of the district in which the imminent danger is alleged to exist or the employer has its principal office or place of business, for a writ of  mandamus to compel the Commissioner to seek such an order for such relief as may be appropriate. (1973, c. 295, s. 15.)