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Nuke workers can complain out loud, says OSHA (3/10)

March 10, 2011


OSHA has published a final rule that makes the procedures for handling whistleblower retaliation complaints under the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 and six environmental statutes consistent with retaliation complaint procedures under other OSHA whistleblower provisions.

Similar to other whistleblower provisions, these regulations not only allow workers to file complaints in writing, but also orally and in other languages. This approach improves access to the complaint-filing process for workers who may have difficulty submitting written complaints. Additionally, workers will receive copies of documents submitted by the employer in response to their whistleblower complaints, subject to applicable privacy and confidentiality laws.

"Silenced workers are not safe workers," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Changes in the whistleblower provisions make good on the promise to stand by those workers who have the courage to come forward when they believe their employer is violating an environmental or nuclear safety law."

The rule covers workers who voice concerns related to nuclear and environmental safety or security under clean air and water, safe drinking water, solid waste, and toxic substances, among others. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of these nuclear and environmental statutes and 14 other statutes protecting workers who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, financial reform, health care reform, pipeline, public transit, railroad, maritime and securities laws.