The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued new rules protecting whistleblowers in transit-related industries from retaliation by employers.
OSHA is seeking comment on the interim final rules, which took effect upon publication Aug. 31 in the Federal Register. They establish procedures for handling of retaliation complaints by workers who voice health, safety and security concerns. The regulations allow filing by phone as well as in writing and filing in languages other than English.
The regulations cover workers filing complaints in the railroad, public transit, commercial motor carrier, and consumer product industries.
Safety, Not Silence
“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,” said David Michaels, assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. “Silenced workers are not safe workers.
“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 interim 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. The rules also create greater consistency among various OSHA complaint procedures.
Comments, Fact Sheets
Comments must be submitted by Nov. 1, 2010, and may be sent to www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or by mail or fax.
The rules are:
• 29 CFR Part 1978, Docket Number OSHA-2008-0026: Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under the Employee Protection Provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982;
• 29 CFR Part 1983, Docket Number OSHA-2010-0006: Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under Section 219 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008; and
• 29 CFR Part 1983, Docket Number OSHA-2010-0006: Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under Section 219 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and 18 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various commercial motor carrier, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, securities, and health care reform laws. New fact sheets on these statutes and additional information will be available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.