How can I get OSHA to investigate my place of work?

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) investigates in two ways: off-site and on-site. You are free to file a claim at any time, however, if you want an on-site OSHA investigation of your place of employment, then one of a list of criteria must be met. Amongst these criteria are a signed complaint that satisfactorily illustrates that a violation or danger threatens the physical safety of employees, a claim that alleges that physical injury has been suffered and the hazard that caused it still exists, a report that imminent danger exists, the employer against which a claim has been filed has a history of OSHA violations within the previous three years, and a claim that is referred from a whistle blower investigation, amongst others.

It is important to note that in order for an on-site investigation to be initiated, the claim must be submitted in writing. You have the right to have your name withheld, and OSHA cannot and will not share your information with your employer. This is meant to prevent deterring you from reporting very serious safety and health concerns.

Once OSHA receives a complaint, they are addressed in order of severity, rather than in order of receipt. If OSHA determines that an employer is already remedying an issue and can appropriately document it, then the administration may refrain from investigating the matter. If an investigation is conducted, then OSHA will notify the claim filer of its findings, which must also be posted by the employer to ensure all employees are aware of any safety and health violations.

OSHA works hard to protect workers across the country. However, if you have been injured on the job, then an investigation will not help you deal with your medical expenses and lost wages. Yet, by speaking with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, you may discover a legal route by which you can recover the compensation you need to get back on your feet.

Source: OSHA, “Federal OSHA Complaint Handling Process,” accessed on Mar. 1, 2015


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