OSHA, also known as the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, is a government agency that ensures the well-being and safety of workers’ in the workforce. Two of the biggest responsibilities of OSHA are company inspections and routine compliance checks. Many of these checks and balances are random and often are brought on by industry statistic and previous safety situations.
Many inspections and compliance checks are conducted on the basis of workers’ rights, and are a result of filed claims by company associates explaining dangerous or unfair conditions. If you’re one of these individuals, you’ll want to know exactly where to go and what to do in order to file a proper claim with the OSHA office. Here is a simple step by step guide to proper filing.
Getting the Most Out of OSHA
Follow the Chain of Command – Prior to filing a claim with OSHA, attempt to resolve the safety or health issue first by reporting the issue to your supervisor, manager, or local safety and health committee. If there is no compliance, you can complain to your local OSHA regional office and ask for an inspection or an investigation. Regardless of your actions, complaints must be filed in a timely manner, preferably within 30 days of the arising issue.
Do You Have the Right? – As an employee of your company you have the right to request an inspection of a workplace if you believe there is a violation. OSHA will keep your identity secret if any issues arise in regards to your company’s safety or health mishaps.
Where Do I File? – There are multiple ways you can file a claim with OSHA. You may file a complaint online through the Complaint Form section of the OSHA website. Written complaints that are signed by workers or other representatives of the company may be submitted to an OSHA regional office for a quick approval. You can also fax or mail your claim by downloading the Complaint Form and finding your closest OSHA office to fax or mail. Out of all the options available, calling the OSHA regional office closest to you is probably the best option for a seamless and successful complaint.
What Do I Need to Provide? – Employees or representatives who are filing a complaint must provide adequate information to OSHA for an investigation or inspection to take place. In addition to explaining the issue at hand and identifying the problem areas within your working environment, information in regards to how many people affected and exposure are important. OSHA wants to know the current affects the hazard may have on your health or safety, the operation or process, and how often this hazard occurs. If the situation is dire, OSHA will most likely respond quickly and provide an inspection of the area.
More Information – If you’re interested in how federal OSHA responds to complaints, please visit Chapter 9 of the Field Operations Manual on the OSHA website. Keep in mind that federal OSHA is like the supreme court of OSHA cases and usually only get involved if there is a death or severe accident involving multiple people within a widely known company. If you have a small or simple complaint, your best means for action is with your local branch of OSHA professionals.
Amit Gangrade is from Orlando, Florida. He is a recent alumn from the University of Florida, where he studied anthropology and Spanish, and will be attending law school at Emory University in the fall of 2014. Amit highly recommends the health and safety management solutions provided by eCompliance.com.