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How to File an OSHA Complaint

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What Is OSHA?

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) works with employees in all fields to identify and correct workplace problems. OSHA aids both employees and employers by holding work-related health and safety to a high standard.

What Is the OSH Act of 1970?

To illustrate your right to a safe work environment, OSHA created the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970. The OSH Act grants you many privileges, including the rights to:

  • Receive training from your employer;
  • Request information from your employer about OSHA standards, workplace injuries and illnesses, job hazards, and other rights;
  • Request that your employer correct dangers or safety violations; and
  • Find out the results of an OSHA inspection.

How Can I File a Complaint?

Additional information concerning OSHA complaints can be found in OSHA area offices, which are located throughout the U.S., and on OSHA's website. Filing a complaint can be done:

  • In person;
  • By fax;
  • By email; or
  • Over the Internet at the OSHA website.

When speaking with an OSHA officer or describing your complaint to a lawyer, you must present certain information, such as:

  • A description of the danger;
  • Where the danger exists; and
  • Whether you have presented the problem to your employer.

Can I File a Complaint If I Am a Union Member?

As a union member, you may benefit from speaking with your union before filing an OSHA complaint. This does not, however, mean that your complaint will not be heard. Instead, the union can file an OSHA complaint on your behalf and will be in a better position to help defend your claim. As a union or non-union employee, you may benefit from discussing your options and possible courses of action with a lawyer.

What Happens after Filing a Complaint?

After receiving your complaint, OSHA decides whether your concern will be:

  • Investigated (OSHA contacts your employer over the phone, describes your complaint, and asks that your employer fixes the problem. Then, your employer has five days to respond to OSHA and to deny the accusation, eliminate the hazard, or be working toward eliminating the hazard); or
  • Inspected (OSHA sends an inspector to visit and evaluate your workplace).

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have any questions concerning your health and/or safety while at work, you should consider meeting with an employment lawyer, who can inform you of your rights and duties.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 01-03-2017 02:55 PM PST

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