Reporting an Underground Business
November 26, 2018
Underground businesses are those that do not comply with applicable state and federal laws. Such businesses often disregard safety rules, putting workers at risk of injury and death. Employees are encouraged to report underground businesses and are entitled to do so without reprisal from their employer.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers have a duty to provide workers with safe and healthful workplaces, free from known health and safety hazards. The OSH Act grants employees the right to file a complaint against their employer and request an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace inspection if they believe their employer is violating a safety regulation or there is a serious hazard in the workplace.
How to Report an Underground Business
Workers should first tell their supervisor about the hazardous condition so that the employer is given a chance to remedy the situation. If the employer does not address the hazardous condition, workers can file a complaint with OSHA, either in person at the closest area office, online, my mail or fax or by telephone. Workers may choose to remain anonymous by requesting that their name not be revealed to their employer.
Workers should file a complaint as soon as possible; OSHA citations may only be issued for current violations or those that took place within the last six months. Workers do not need to know the specific OSHA rules that their employer violated in order to file a complaint. However, they will be asked to describe the hazardous condition and provide any additional helpful information and supporting documentation that might aid the investigation.
According to OSHA’s top 10 violations of 2018, here are a few of the most common OSHA violations to look out for:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Powered industrial trucks
- Fall protection training requirements
- Machine guarding
- Eye and face protection
The Complaints Process
Once a complaint has been filed, an OSHA-assigned investigator will notify the employer, who then has five days to respond. The worker who reported the violation will receive a copy of this response and may request that OSHA conduct a physical inspection of the workplace if he or she believes that the employer’s response is inadequate.
Employers who violate OSHA regulations may be subject to fines, and employees injured by such violations may be entitled to damages such as pain and suffering in addition to their workers’ compensation benefits. Workers who are retaliated against for exercising their rights as a worker may also be entitled to file a whistleblower complaint; contact a qualified attorney to discuss your rights.
Contact the Workers’ Comp Lawyers in Philadelphia at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. for Help Protecting Your Rights
If you suspect that your employer has violated an OSHA regulation, or you have asked that your employer fix hazardous conditions in your workplace to no avail, contact a skilled workers’ comp lawyer in Philadelphia. At Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C., we will ensure that your rights are protected and fight to hold underground businesses accountable for their actions. To discuss your case, complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW to arrange a free consultation.
Our experienced attorneys represent clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania from our offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Lansdowne, Bensalem and Reading. We serve those in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County, as well as in the communities of 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.