When an employee raises concerns about safety or health hazards in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration steps in to investigate these claims. This initiates the whistleblower investigation.
If you have reported unsafe practices, it can help to understand what happens during the investigation.
Once OSHA receives a complaint, it initiates an investigation to assess the validity of the concerns. The investigator assigned to your case will contact you to gather detailed information about the alleged violations. Providing accurate and comprehensive details forms the foundation of the investigation.
OSHA may visit your workplace to inspect the conditions mentioned in your complaint. During this on-site visit, the investigator examines the relevant areas and equipment, interviews employees and reviews safety documentation. OSHA may also interview your employer.
Protecting the whistleblower
Throughout the investigation, OSHA strives to protect whistleblowers from retaliation by maintaining confidentiality. Still, it also must ensure a fair and complete investigation. So, the investigator may need to share certain details with your employer to ensure a thorough examination of the allegations.
Issuing a determination
OSHA will issue a written determination outlining the findings at the end of the investigation. If it finds violations, the report may include recommendations for corrective actions. Conversely, if it found no violations, it will close the investigation.
The entire process aims to ensure workplace safety and address valid concerns. It also focuses on protecting whistleblowers and upholding the right to report issues in the workplace. The goal in the end is to foster a safe working environment by holding employers accountable.