ISHN

New advisory committee to strengthen OSHA's whistleblower program

May 21, 2012

whistleOSHA says it will establish an advisory committee to make recommendations on improving the agency’s whistleblower protections.

"Workers who expose securities and financial fraud, adulterated foods, air and water pollution, or workplace safety hazards have a legal right to speak out without fear of retaliation, and the laws that protect these whistleblowers also protect the health, safety and well-being of all Americans," said OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels.

The committee will make recommendations to the secretary of labor and the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health on ways to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of OSHA's administration of whistleblower protections.

The goals? Improved customer service, investigations and enforcement, along with training, and regulations governing investigations. In addition, the committee will advise OSHA in cooperative activities with other federal agencies that are responsible for areas covered by the whistleblower protection statutes enforced by OSHA.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and 20 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.

Under these various whistleblower provisions enacted by Congress, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or the government. Information is available at the newly revamped www.whistleblowers.gov.

A federal register notice of today's announcement may be viewed at www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/05/17/2012-11982/whistleblower-protection-advisory-committee-wpac.