The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration unveiled a new website this week dedicated to providing would-be whistleblowers with encouragement and protection. According to OSHA, “workers who ‘blow the whistle’ on prohibited or unlawful practices in the workplace or report safety and health discrimination play an important role” in keeping employers in line with federal laws.
The website – www.whistleblower.gov – is designed to provide workers, employers, and the public with easily accessible information about the 18 federal whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA currently administers. While the information is available on OSHA’s main website, the agency wanted to make it more readily available to workers who are concerned about their employer’s practices and employers who want to educate themselves about the federal laws.
The information on whistleblower.gov details worker rights and provisions under each of the whistleblower statutes and regulations that OSHA enforces. Program facts sheets and instructions on how workers can file retaliation complaints are also available on the new website. “Workers may file discrimination complaints with OSHA if they believe their employer has retaliated against them for exercising a broad range of rights protected by the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act,” OSHA said in a release.
Workers may file whistleblower complaints if they believe their employer has retaliated against them for engaging in protected activities related to air carrier safety, asbestos in schools, commercial motor carrier safety or security, corporate fraud, environmental, nuclear safety, pipeline safety, public transportation agency, rail safety or security, and several other statutes. For each of the statutes covered by OSHA, the web page will provide workers with information on time frames for filing, the complaint investigation process, case settlement, reinstatement, pay back wages, restoration of benefits, and other possible remedies to ensure justice for the worker.
“OSHA doesn’t work unless workers feel secure in exercising their rights,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. “This Web page is part of OSHA’s promise to stand by those workers who have the courage to come forward when they know their employer is cutting corners on safety and health.”
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s job is to help assure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.