The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) inspectors hand out citations across the country for a multitude of violations. Without fail, year after year, the same on-the-job hazards rank at or near the top of the list. General contractors, subcontractors and others often receive construction violations over and over, because they fail to learn how to recognize and avoid these three common work hazards. Read more
More than six million construction workers labor at roughly 250,000 American construction sites every day. There, accidents are frequently caused by simple things like code violations.
Injuries at a job site can occur in many ways, including falls and slips. In response, construction companies follow applicable codes to protect public health, work zone safety and general welfare. Read more
Learn How to Properly File an OSHA Report
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 establishes an unconditional right for laborers to have a safe working environment. Three major components of this legislation are workplace safety mandates, the possibility of inspections by OSHA agency employees and the right for workers to file a formal complaint if they feel that their safety and well-being is somehow jeopardized by their employer’s work practices.
Whether you are an entry-level laborer or a top-level manager following questionable directives from your firm owner, you have a right to report your company or superiors if you feel that they are placing you in danger during your work duties. These complaints can be filed anonymously, and OSHA legislation protects workers who file complaints from punitive repercussions.
Three Convenient Filing Options
In order to accommodate workers with a variety of needs or working schedules, OSHA has provided three possible ways to contact them with a formal complaint.
- Complaints can be filed over the internet using OSHA’s official online complaint form. Online complaints received by employees in a state that has an OSHA-approved state plan will be forwarded to the most appropriate local office. Note that online complaints are not as likely to result in a workplace inspection as written complaints that are signed by workers or a group representative.
- Written complaint forms can be downloaded and then mailed or faxed to the closest OSHA regional or area office. These written complaints, when signed by a worker and submitted locally, are more likely to result in an inspection or appropriate action. Please fill out contact and personal information in as much detail as possible to contribute to the usefulness of the report. All information will remain confidential.
- Complaints can be called in to your local or regional office using the appropriate contact number. You can speak directly to a representative who can answer your questions and discuss your complaint in detail. A formal written report will be filed and you may be asked to contribute to this report with your own personal description and information.
Emergencies and immediately life-threatening incidents can be reported to your local OSHA office or by calling 1-800-321-OSHA. Note that emergency services should be contacted in most situations to prevent further endangerment or harm and to respond to immediate medical or safety needs.
Complaints should contain as much detailed information as possible, including facts regarding:
- The time and date of any specific incidents
- The nature of the work performed
- The number of employees exposed or affected by the hazard
- Any specific injuries or “near miss” incidents
- The time and duration of work performed during exposure to the hazard, such as a specific shift or job task
- How much disclosure the employer granted to employees regarding the hazard and whether sincere attempts have been made to resolve the issue
- The names or nature of any hazardous substances, dangerous equipment
- Any other relevant details
Certain employees may be eligible to have their complaint filed by a representative. Legitimate representatives include:
- Authorized bargaining unit representatives, such as those in a recognized trade union
- An attorney operating on behalf of an employee
- Any other recognized social representative, such as a spouse, social worker, family member, government official, clergy member as well as any non-profit or organization responding to specific complaints or injuries
- Outside parties who are aware of a safety or health hazard either ongoing or part of an isolated incident can report these conditions to OSHA and open up an inquiry into the situation
OSHA law protects employees who file a complaint from discriminatory action and retaliation for their report. Discrimination complaints must be filed within 30 days of the alleged incident. Whistleblower discrimination complaints can be filed using an online form, a printout form or via a telephone call or written letter to your closest regional OSHA office.
No worker should have to tolerate subjecting themselves to unacceptable dangers. Remind your supervisor or managers of your rights to a safe workplace and follow up on any ignored concerns as soon as possible through one of the stated avenues. You could just be saving your life as well as the lives of your coworkers.
OSHA safety regulations were created to protect workers from dangerous workplace conditions while also keeping employers informed of best practices. Handy safety guidelines and suggestions published by OSHA have potentially saved tens of millions of lives.
Despite these efforts, some workplaces continue to engage in habits that put their employees in danger. Part I of this post covered how electrical systems, machinery guards and ladder usage all make up some of the most commonly-seen OSHA violations during inspections. Here are even more common and dangerous violations that make up number six through number one of the most egregious practices OSHA regularly sees: Read more
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1971 as a means to reduce the amount of injuries occurring in the workplace. Prior to OSHA’s formation, there was little to no oversight of workplace safety conditions. Industrial workers, construction workers and other trade workers were subjected to precarious and often patently dangerous situations as a standard part of their work duties. Millions died in horrific accidents as a result of lax or inconsistent workplace safety procedures.
Now, thankfully, OSHA has our workers’ backs. They protect workers from entering a situation that will be likely to cause them great harm, and they help employers become more aware of safety issues that can easily give rise to deadly scenarios.
OSHA’s standards have made employers in all industries more aware of how an innocent-seeming or even commonplace workplace habit can be problematic to worker safety. Yet, OSHA inspections year in and year out still find work sites that are out of compliance. Here are the most common problems OSHA finds when they visit job sites and how you can avoid them: Read more