A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

February 19, 2013

OSHA Whistleblower Complaints Reach New High

OSHA received and completed record numbers of whistleblower complaints in 2012. Nearly 2,800 whistleblower complaints were received, an increase of 20 percent from 2010 according to figures from the Whistleblower Protection Program. Of completed complaints, 60 percent were dismissed and 21 percent were settled.

Nearly two-thirds of settled cases dealt with OSHA statutes (382). Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) statutes were next, comprising 12 percent of settled cases. STAA whistleblower provisions were amended in July 2012.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 17 statutes, including STAA, designed to protect employees who report violations of various trucking, airline, railroad, nuclear power, pipeline, consumer protection, environmental and securities laws.

Related to this, OSHA recently published interim final rules governing whistleblower complaints filed under the Seaman's Protection Act. The Act protects seamen from retaliation for engaging in protected activity under the Act, including providing information to the government about an alleged violation of maritime safety laws or regulations.

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