The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with helping to ensure workplaces are safe for employees. One way this agency helps to better ensure the safety of work sites is by allowing workers to file complaints if they believe an employer is not providing a safe place to work.
What types of complaints can workers’ file?
The agency generally provides these two avenues for workers:
- Health and safety complaint. Workers who are concerned their workplace is not safe can use this complaint to confidentially request an OSHA inspection. This will lead to an OSHA inspector checking to see if the employer is complying with applicable OSHA regulations. A failure will likely lead to penalties and required changes. This can also result in repeated inspections to check to see if the employer is complying with required changes.
- Whistleblower complaint. Workers can also file a complaint for retaliation. This can include retaliation for reporting a potential violation. Examples include violations of health and safety as well as violations of environmental and security regulations. As long as employees have a reasonable, good faith reason to report a potential violation, the employer should not retaliate. Such retaliation is likely illegal. As a result, the employee can file a complaint and have OSHA hold the employer responsible for the violation.
If an employer’s failure resulted in injury to workers, those workers may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you think you may qualify for these benefits, it is a good idea to seek legal counsel. An attorney experienced in workers’ compensation benefit issues can review your claim and help to better ensure you receive your entitled benefits.