A worker may decide not to report any unsafe work practices in their workplace for fear of negative consequences.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal organization responsible for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions by setting and enforcing workplace safety regulations. OSHA provides the necessary training and resources to help employees learn safe working practices and report any safety violations. OSHA also holds seminars and conducts onsite inspections to raise awareness about workplace safety. The organization employs more than 550 state consultants and around 2,400 federal inspectors, including engineers, educators, complaint discrimination investigators, physicians, and technicians.
Filing a Complaint with OSHA
A worker may decide not to report any unsafe work practices in their workplace for fear of revenge, being disliked by coworkers, or any other negative consequence. However, continuing work in an unsafe workplace will only increase accident risks. Some workers do not know how to report an OSHA violation, while others are concerned that their employer might know who made the complaint. Many workers do not know that OSHA accepts anonymous complaints in order to protect an employee’s privacy. If you want to file an OSHA complaint, take the following steps.
- Inform your employer about the unsafe condition – Inform your employer before reporting to OSHA. Maybe your employer is unaware of the unsafe work condition that came to your notice. Employers usually want to avoid the consequences of a complaint to OSHA. Chances are that your employer will address the issue as soon as possible after you report to them. OSHA aims to help employers maintain a safe workplace. However, they also take strict actions against negligent employers. Failure to comply with OSHA regulations may invite heavy fines and penalties and may even result in cancellation of the trade license for a temporary period.
- File an OSHA complaint – If your employer does not take actions to fix the problem, file an OSHA complaint. You can start the process by contacting your state’s regional OSHA office. The official OSHA website provides detailed information about this. Fill out a complaint form, explaining your complaint in detail. Provide any other information that might be helpful in recognizing the problem. OSHA accepts anonymous complaints to safeguard your confidentiality.
The OSHA Investigation
After you file a complaint, OSHA will starts an investigation on the basis of your complaint. OSHA usually does not provide any update on their investigation until the case is closed. The organization assigns a dedicated investigator for each case. They usually start the investigation by talking to your employer about the alleged unsafe work conditions. In some cases, OSHA chooses not to reveal the identity of the worker who made the complaint. An employer needs to respond to OSHA within five days. In the next step, OSHA sends you a copy the employer’s response.
OSHA and Workers’ Compensation
OSHA takes action against all negligent employers, but the organization does not reward an employee for reporting an unsafe work condition. If you suffer a workplace injury, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. Typically, workers’ compensation benefits pay for medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and a portion of lost earnings. A Missouri work injury lawyer can help you protect your legal rights. If you have been injured in a work-related accident, call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.