Reporting Safety Violations
March 12, 2019
Pennsylvania employers are required to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). Under the OSH Act, created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers have a responsibility to provide safe workplaces free from recognized health and safety hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Employees who believe that their employer is not in compliance with OSHA standards may file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection.
How to Report a Safety Violation
Workers do not have to know whether an actual violation took place to file a complaint. If an employee suspects that their employer is not in compliance, they should file a complaint as soon as possible because OSHA violations may only be cited if they existed in the past six months. A complaint may either be filed online, faxed, or called in to a local OSHA Regional or Area Office.
The form requests information, such as the name of the establishment, a description of the suspected hazard, to whose attention the hazardous condition was brought, and whether the employee chooses to remain anonymous. Emergencies should instead be reported by calling OSHA’s toll-free number.
Workers are Protected from Retaliation
Workers who file health and safety complaints may choose to remain anonymous. However, those who choose to reveal their identity are entitled to remain free from employer retaliation under the Act. Employees who believe they were treated unfairly because they blew the whistle on their employer by exposing health and safety hazards may file a complaint with OSHA.
Employees may not be punished or retaliated against for exercising their right as an employee to report unsafe or unhealthful working conditions. Those who were punished or retaliated against must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged reprisal.
The number of days employees can file depends on the alleged violation. For example, violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act must be filed within 30 days, whereas violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act must be filed within 90 days.
Other Worker Rights Under Federal Safety Laws
In addition to a safe and healthful workplace, Pennsylvania workers are also entitled to:
- Be trained in a language they understand
- Work on safe machines
- Be given appropriate safety gear, such as gloves or fall protection
- Be informed about and protected from toxic chemicals
- Receive copies of their medical records, the workplace injury and illness log, and any test results regarding hazards in the workplace
- Request an OSHA inspection without being fired, demoted, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against for exercising that right
Contact a Work Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. if You Were Hurt on the Job
If you suspect that your employer is not in compliance with OSHA safety and health guidelines, contact a work injury lawyer in Philadelphia at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. With over 35 years of experience, our attorneys can help ensure your rights under the OSH Act, workers’ compensation laws, and other state and federal laws. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
Located in Philadelphia, our team provides skilled representation to those residing in and around Pennsylvania, including Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.