How to File a Complaint with OSHA
Any person can file a complaint with OSHA as this is a legal right. The complaint must be centered on hazardous conditions at work places. Some employees usually fear filing workplace safety management complaints because they feel that their employers will retaliate by sacking or disciplining them at the workplace.
To prevent yourself from such acts of malice by your employer, you should be formal and not casual when filing the OSHA complaint. In the event you are a member of a union, it is important that you contact the relevant union authorities before filing the complaint because they can do it on your behalf.
“Success is 99 percent failure” – Soichiro Honda
The Components of an OSHA Complaint
Proper OSHA reporting requires that your complaints should have the aggrieved party who can be an employee or a union official and the allegation being brought forward such as inadequate safety training and poor working conditions. Usually, complaints brought forward by employee representatives and the employees themselves take preeminence over all other persons.
How Do I File a Complaint
You have to file your complaint in the area office that has jurisdiction over your workplace. Information about this can be found on the OSHA’s website or you can call their toll free number which is 1-800-321-OSHA.
You can either file your complaint via phone or in writing. Similarly, the onus is on you to either include your name or file it anonymously but the latter will be assigned a lower priority to the others.
What to Say in the Complaint
To enhance your chances of getting a positive response from OSHA, you have to make your complaint as formal as possible. When filing the complaint, you can either use the official OSHA complaint form or you can write a letter which addresses all the questions on the form. The details required include the employer name, the site location, the mailing address, management official or the site manager where applicable, the type of business and the hazard description and location.
The Hazard Description
When describing the hazard, you need to include the number of employees who are vulnerable to the threats of the hazard. Where the hazard is more than one, you need to list them in a clear manner and the corresponding risks that they pose. Ensure that you mention the location of each hazard and whether it occurs at certain times or it is ever present. You should also specify whether the hazard has been brought to the attention of the employer or not. You should state your desire which may be that you do not want OSHA to reveal your name to the employer for fear of victimization.
OSHA usually categorizes complaints into two classes; investigation complaints and inspection complaints. Investigation complaints are usually addressed through a call from OSHA to the employer stating the complaint and asking him to rectify. Inspection complaints on the other hand require that an official from OSHA visits the concerned workplace.