OSHA wants public inputs on new Whistleblower Protection Rules

Nov 10, 2015– The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking comments from the genera public on its improved Whistleblower protection rules. These anti-retaliatory rules are to prevent employers from retaliating against genuine whistleblowers who may be employees who raise valid points regarding workplace safety and health issues. Comments will be accepted until Jan 2016.

Protecting Whistleblowers: Recommended Practices for Employers for Preventing and Addressing Retaliation will help employers create a non-retaliatory environment in the workplace and will provide practical guidance on protecting whistleblower rights for public, private, and non-profit employers. The document contains sections on how to ensure leadership commitment, foster an anti-retaliation culture, respond to reports of retaliation, conduct anti-retaliation training, and monitor Progress and Program Improvement.

The draft document is based on recommendations of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee in its document, Best Practices for Protecting Whistleblowers and Preventing and Addressing Retaliation*.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the OSH Act. OSHA also enforces the whistleblower protection provisions of 21 other statutes relating to asbestos in schools, cargo container safety, aviation safety, commercial motor carrier safety, consumer product safety, environmental protection, consumer financial protection, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear safety, pipeline safety, public transportation safety, railroad safety, maritime safety, and securities laws. For more information, please visit www.whistleblowers.gov.

Comments on the document will be accepted until Jan. 19, 2016, and will be considered by OSHA when preparing the final document for issuance.

We are especially interested in comments related to ensuring that:

  • Anti-retaliation concepts are described clearly,
  • Important features of an anti-retaliation program are included,
  • Challenges in implementing these practices are addressed,
  • Issues specific to small businesses are addressed.

Comments should be submitted to www.regulations.gov using the docket number OSHA-2015-0025. Please note that all comments will be publicly posted as written; do not submit personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers and birthdates.

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