OSHA issues final rule for handling complaints of retaliation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued final rules Monday for how whistleblower complaints of retaliation should be handled for workers in the railroad and public transit sectors.

Under the National Transit Systems Security Act and the Federal Railroad Safety Act, employees are allowed to file a complaint with OSHA within 180 days of the alleged retaliation. Once the complaint is received, the OSHA has 60 days to notify the person or persons named in the complaint.

OSHA said these protections extend to employees of contractors and subcontractors who do work for public transportation agencies and railroad carriers.

Under the rule, the respondent has 20 days to submit a written statement and any documents to OSHA, and request a meeting, to presents its position. The agency then has 60 days to issue written findings as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent has retaliated against the complainant.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA said its role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.