Workers, or their representatives, may file a complaint and ask OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA standards. A worker can tell OSHA not to let their employer know who filed the complaint. It is a violation of the Act for an employer to fire, demote, transfer or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.
You can file a complaint online; download the form [En Espanol*] and mail or fax it to the nearest OSHA office; or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Most complaints sent in on line may be resolved informally over the phone with your employer. Written complaints that are signed by a worker or their representative and submitted to the closest OSHA office are more likely to result in an on-site OSHA inspection.
When the OSHA inspector arrives, workers and their representatives have the right to:
- Go along on the inspection.
- Talk privately with the OSHA inspector.
- Take part in meetings with the inspector and the employer before and after the inspection is conducted.
Where there is no union or employee representative, the OSHA inspector must talk confidentially with a reasonable number of workers during the course of the investigation.
When an inspector finds violations of OSHA standards or serious hazards, OSHA may issue citations and fines. A citation includes methods an employer may use to fix a problem and the date by when the corrective actions must be completed. Workers only have the right to challenge the deadline for when a problem must be resolved. Employers, on the other hand, have the right to contest whether there is a violation or any other part of the citation. Workers or their representatives must notify OSHA that they want to be involved in the appeals process if the employer challenges a citation.
If you send in a complaint requesting an OSHA inspection, you have the right to find out the results of the OSHA inspection and request a review if OSHA decides not to issue citations.
Source: United States Department of Labor, “Workers can ask OSHA to Inspect their Workplace” https://www.osha.gov website. Accessed November 24, 2015. https://www.osha.gov/workers.html#5
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