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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that a US worker loses their life every two hours because of unsafe standards in the workplace. The organization strives to reduce the risks to US workers and to ensure that employers and employees adhere to regulations and guidelines.

Perhaps the best people to identify hazards on the job are those doing the job – the employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 provides employees the right to complain or to request that an OSHA representative visit their workplace if they suspect that the environment is dangerous, there is a serious hazard, or an employer is not following OSHA standards. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee who complains or to fire, transfer or demote them.

OSHA provides a useful map which lists the locations of local offices in each state with telephone and fax numbers.

  • An online complaint form can be found by visiting the OSHA website. However, workers who write and submit complaints to their local office may receive a more rapid response. OSHA recommends downloading, completing, and faxing the form to a local regional office. The complainant’s name, address, and telephone number must be provided, but OSHA will ensure that all matters are treated confidentially.
  • The information that will be required for a complaint includes the number of employees at the site, the work that is being performed, the equipment and materials used, any training or information that is provided to the employees, a description of the hazard, and any injuries that may have occurred.
  • A worker can also telephone the local OSHA office. Staff will answer any questions and provide guidance to the informant. If the hazard is an emergency or immediately life-threatening, call 1-800-321-OSHA, or contact the regional office immediately.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program is designed to protect employees who report violations. Don’t delay in reporting incidents for fear of reprisals from your employer. For more information and details about what to do if you see a dangerous situation at work, visit the OSHA website, or contact your local OSHA office.