Understanding Your Options When Filing an OSHA Complaint
Every employee deserves a safe and fair workplace environment. Companies and organizations have a legal duty to comply with all applicable state and federal workplace safety regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the primary federal agency responsible for setting and enforcing workplace safety standards.
If you have noticed serious health and safety violations in your workplace, you have the right to file a complaint with OSHA. Your employer is legally prohibited from taking adverse action against you because you filed a complaint. Here is an overview of your options for filing a workplace safety complaint with OSHA.
There are Four Different Ways Workers Can File an OSHA Complaint
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set up a process to accept and evaluate workplace safety complaints in several ways. How you should report a potential violation depends both on the urgency of the matter and your personal preferences. Here are your four (4) options for filing an OSHA complaint:
1. Online: The agency offers an online reporting tool to facilitate quick, efficient complaints. In many cases, filing a complaint through OSHA’s online tool is your best option. You can use the OSHA Online Complaint Form to notify regulators of an alleged safety or health hazard.
2. Over the Phone: You also have the right to report a safety matter via telephone. A representative of the agency can take your complaint over the phone. You can reach OSHA by calling 1-800-321-6742 or 1-877-889-5627.
3. Fax or Mail: If you feel more comfortable faxing or mailing your complaint instead of using the online reporting tool, you have the right to do so. You can fax or mail OSHA with notice of a possible workplace safety violation.
4. In Person: Finally, you can always go to your nearest OSHA regional office to file a complaint. There are four (4) OSHA offices in Wisconsin — Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton, and Eau Claire. Make sure you go to the local office responsible for your region.
If you need to file an emergency complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, you should not use the online complaint form, fax, or mail. To report an emergency, a severe accident, or another type of life-threatening safety violation, call the agency directly at 1-800-321-6742. A representative can help you take immediate action to address the problem. When the situation has stabilized, a Wisconsin labor law attorney will walk you through the next steps in the legal process.