A worker who reported safety concerns about the zip-line equipment his company manufacturers was terminated for insubordination in violation of federal whistleblower laws, OSHA has found.

An investigation by the agency determined that TruBlue, LLC, which develops and manufactures products used for climbing, zip-line, free-fall and other recreational activities, retaliated against the employee in violation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act after the worker suggested to the company's chief executive officer that more safety research be conducted on zip-line equipment.

The Boulder-based company - doing business as Head Rush Technologies – has been ordered to pay the former employee more than $125,000 in back wages and damages, and take other corrective actions.

"An employee should feel and be free to exercise their rights under the law - especially when it comes to safety -without fear of retaliation by their employer," said Gregory Baxter, regional OSHA administrator in Denver. "Our investigation and action on behalf of this worker underscores the agency's commitment to take vigorous action to protect workers' rights at Head Rush and elsewhere."

The company and the former employee may file objections or request a hearing, within 30 days of receipt of the agency's order, before the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.