The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made it easier for employees to file complaints related to workplace wrongdoing. Now workers who believe they have been subjected to retaliation for complaining about an alleged violation may electronically submit a whistleblower complaint using an online form found on the OSHA website at www.osha.gov/whistleblower. Previously, complaints had to be made by filing a written complaint, calling the agency, or contacting an OSHA office.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities laws, workplace safety and health, and consumer protection laws. In 2012, the number of whistleblower complaints processed by OSHA increased to 2,764 cases from 1,947 in 2011. With this new change, it is anticipated that there will be an upsurge in complaints.
It is important that you protect your business by training your supervisors on OSHA policies, procedures, and how to respond to complaints. Rather than having employees contact OSHA, it is to your advantage to encourage internal complaints. This gives you the opportunity to investigate and correct any issues before it becomes a claim.
If you have any questions regarding the provisions covered for whistleblowing or would like to learn how we can help with supervisor training for your business, please contact our office at (239) 433-5554 or visit www.markham-norton.com.