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How to Report an OSHA Violation
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created by the U.S. Congress in 1970, to regulate and manage health and safety issues within the private work sector. OSHA is responsible for setting workplace safety laws, which every private sector business in the country is required to follow. If an employee encounters a health or safety concern, the employee has the right to file a complaint report with OSHA confidentially, and without reprisal from the employer. The agency will then investigate the employee's concerns.
Before You File a Complaint
Report the unsafe situation to a supervisor or your company's safety committee. Under OSHA rules, it is the employee's responsibility to inform the supervisor of the unsafe situation, so the employer has an opportunity to remedy the situation.
Read the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration guidelines regarding Employer Responsibilities (see Resources).
Encourage your employer to contact the OSHA consultation service in your state, so she can learn techniques to improve conditions at your workplace (see Resources).
Use the Internet to access the OSHA online complaint form (see Resources).
Fill out the form completely. Include your name and telephone number, so an OSHA representative can get in touch with you. There is a space on the form to indicate whether OSHA may release your name to the employer. Use as much detail as possible to describe the workplace hazard or hazards you are reporting. Tell them where the hazard is located, when the hazard occurred, whether it is an ongoing issue, and exactly what the hazard is. Explain why your concern is a health or safety hazard. Remember to include the department, location, building or floor of the safety issue.
Click “SEND” at the bottom of the form. An OSHA representative will contact you to discuss your workplace safety concern. Typically when you submit an electronic report someone from OSHA will call you within a few days. However, it can take up to 30 days.
Submitting a Paper Form
Obtain the form. You may call or stop by your local OSHA office and ask for a form, or you can download the form from the OSHA website (see Resources). Then print the form.
Fill out the form as completely as possible. Be sure to include your name and contact information so an OSHA representative can get in touch with you. Explain the safety concern as accurately as possible. Tell OSHA where the violation occurred, including floor numbers and department names. If anyone was injured provide the date of injury, where the injured person received medical care, what care was given, and when the injured person returned to work.
Mail or fax the form to your area's OSHA regional office.
If there is an emergency, workplace death,or potentially life threatening situation, call OSHA directly at 1-800-321-6742. The TTY number is 1-877-889-5627.
It is against the law for an employer to discriminate against you for filing a report with OSHA.