O.S.H.A. publishes interim 'whistle-blower' rules
September 1, 2010
by Bryan Salvage
WASHINGTON – Interim final rules designed to help protect workers who voice safety, health and security concerns have been published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.) in the Aug. 31 Federal Register. Establishing procedures for handling worker retaliation complaints, the regulations allow filing by phone as well as in writing and filing in languages other than English.
"When workers believe their employers are violating certain laws or government regulations, they have the right to file a complaint and should not fear retaliation. Silenced workers are not safe workers," said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for O.S.H.A. "Changes in the whistleblower provisions make good on the promise to stand by those workers who have the courage to come forward when they believe their employer is violating the law and cutting corners on a variety of safety, health and security concerns in the affected industries."
The regulations, which cover workers filing complaints in the consumer products, railroad, public transit and commercial motor carrier industries, also create greater consistency among various O.S.H.A. complaint procedures, the agency claims. The interim final rules establish procedures and time frames for handling complaints under the whistleblower sections of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
These regulations are effective immediately. Comments must be submitted by Nov. 1, and can be sent to www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or by mail or fax.