More than one-fifth (21 percent) of OSHA inspections stem from employee complaints, according to Safety/News Alert. The publication lists the top ten industries with workplace complaints to OSHA along with the number of complaints over a two year period:
- Roofing, Siding, & Sheet Metal Work, 904
- United States Postal Service, 466
- General Contractors, Non-residential Buildings Other Than Industrial Buildings, 414
- Special Trade Contractors, Not Elsewhere Classified, 273
- General Contractors Residential Buildings, Other Than Single-Family, 252
- Eating Places, 232
- Masonry, Stone Setting & Other Stone Work, 224
- Fabricated Metal Products, Not Elsewhere Classified, 207
- General Warehousing & Storage, 205
- Excavation Work, 198.
Employees and their representatives have the right to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they believe a serious safety or health hazard exists or their employer is not following OSHA standards. Further, the OSH Act gives complainants the right to request that their names not be revealed to their employers.
OSHA takes complaints from employees and their representatives seriously. Furthermore, “whistleblower laws” protect employees from firing, demotion, transfer or any other form of discrimination for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights. OSHA typically recommends that employees try to resolve matters internally before resorting to a complaint, however. For more information on complying with sometimes complex OSHA rules and regulations, please contact us.