If you get hurt or sick at work and file a workers’ compensation claim, always file a workplace safety complaint. It’s important to take steps that protect your fellow coworkers from workplace safety hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives employees and their representatives the right to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection if a serious workplace safety hazard exists. This also applies if workers believe their employer doesn’t follow OSHA standards. When workers say nothing after an injury or illness, it can put other employees at risk. Don’t wait to report a dangerous workplace safety issue when you recognize one!
Three Ways to Report a Workplace Safety or Health Violation
There are three ways to report a workplace safety or health violation to OSHA directly via telephone, fax/mail, or online.
Method #1: Online
Onsite inspections are more likely after workers or their representatives sign and submit written complaints to an OSHA Area or Regional office. Workers’ online complaints in OSHA-approved state plan areas transfer to the appropriate state plan for response.
Access the Online Complaint Form now to report your workplace safety or health hazard online.
Method #2: Via Fax/Mail
Complete a complaint form and then fax or mail it back to your local OSHA Regional or Area Office. Please include your name, address and telephone number. That way, an OSHA representative can contact you to follow up. Download the OSHA complaint form here, or request a copy from your local OSHA Regional or Area Office.
Method #3: By Phone
OSHA staff can discuss your complaint and respond to any questions you may have on your call. If you’re reporting an emergency or immediately life-threatening workplace safety hazard, call your local OSHA Regional or Area Office immediately. You can also reach out toll-free at 1-800-321-OSHA.
It’s important to understand you don’t have to know whether a specific OSHA standard is violated before filing your complain. Instead, file your complaint as soon as possible if you suspect any workplace safety hazard or compliance failure exists. OSHA only issues citations for current violations or those that existed in the past six months.
Workplace Safety Reports are Confidential
OSHA takes complaints from workers or their representatives very seriously. The department will always ensure that your information remains confidential.
What To Do If Your Employer Retaliates
If your employer retaliates for a workers’ comp claim, you can report it anonymously at the OSHA website’s complaint page. File a discrimination complaint if your employer retaliates against you for exercising your employee rights. Act within 30 days after your employer takes any retaliatory action. In states with approved state plans, you may file a legal complaint with both the State and Federal OSHA offices. Plus, OSHA accepts complaints in any language. The agency conducts an interview with each person who complains before deciding whether to conduct an investigation. If the evidence supports your discrimination claim, OSHA will ask your employer to restore your job, earnings and benefits.
Workplace Safety Whistleblower Reporting Procedures
Here’s a quick overview of how the whistleblower reporting procedure works:
- Firstly, you or your representative can file a whistleblower complaint with OSHA via mail, telephone, in person, or online at whistleblowers.gov. Next, OSHA will interview you to obtain information about the alleged retaliation. They will determine whether the allegation warrants an investigation under OSHA’s 22 different whistleblower protection statutes.
- Secondly, if the allegation qualifies for further investigation, OSHA will assign a neutral whistleblower investigator to your case. The investigator will then notify the complainant, respondent, and appropriate federal partner agency that OSHA’s opening an investigation. Then, they will notify all parties when evidence reviews begin. Evidence in these cases may include the following items (if applicable):
- Text messages
- Phone logs
- Your investigator will also review relevant personnel files, contracts, work products and meeting minutes.
OSHA expects both parties to actively participate in investigations and respond to their requests. In addition, each party can respond to the other’s allegations and positions. Just know that the time it takes to complete a whistleblower investigation usually varies.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
If you need assistance reporting your employer for workplace safety and health violations, we can help. And if your employer retaliates against you, file a whistleblower complaint. Reach out to an expert advocate today for help navigating this procedure. Our network of experienced workers’ comp lawyers are happy to schedule a free, confidential meeting and answer all your questions. Most importantly, you’ll never pay anything for professional help with your claim unless that attorney helps you win. If that happens, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.