How to file a complaint with OSHA?

  • Post last modified:September 29, 2023

In our step-by-step guide, we will explain how to file a complaint with OSHA. We understand that it can be frustrating and confusing to deal with workplace safety violations, but rest assured, we’re here to help. Our guide will walk you through the process, ensuring that you have all the necessary information and resources to submit a complaint effectively. Whether you’re an employee concerned about hazardous conditions or an employer seeking to address safety concerns, we’re confident that our guide will empower you to take the necessary steps to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.


Gather Information

Gathering all relevant details about the safety violation or hazardous conditions is crucial when filing a complaint. Begin by collecting the name and address of the company where the incident occurred. For example, if the violation took place at a construction site, make sure to note the exact location and address of the site. This information will help authorities identify the responsible party and take appropriate action.

Next, gather the date and time of the incident. Provide the specific date and time when the violation or hazardous condition occurred. For instance, if there was a chemical spill in a laboratory, note the exact day and time it happened, such as “May 15, 2022, at 10:30 AM.” This precise information will help investigators accurately assess the situation.

Finally, provide a detailed description of what occurred. Be specific and concise in your explanation, using clear and direct language. For instance, if there was a safety violation involving faulty machinery, describe the malfunction and any potential dangers it posed. Include any observed injuries or damages resulting from the incident. Providing a clear and comprehensive description will help authorities understand the severity of the situation and take appropriate action swiftly.

Remember, when gathering information, it is essential to be thorough and accurate. By collecting all the necessary details such as the company’s name and address, date and time of the incident, and a description of what occurred, you are providing a solid foundation for your complaint and enabling authorities to address the safety violation or hazardous conditions effectively.


Contact OSHA

Call or visit your local OSHA office to report the complaint. Provide them with the information you gathered in step 1 and answer any additional questions they may have. OSHA will guide you through the process and provide assistance. For example, if you encountered a hazardous situation at your workplace, call your local OSHA office and inform them about the issue. Explain the details of the situation, such as the specific hazards involved and any injuries or illnesses that have occurred. If you have any supporting evidence, such as photographs or documents, make sure to mention it as well. OSHA may ask you additional questions to better understand the situation and assess its severity. Answer these questions to the best of your ability and provide any further information they may require.

Once you have reported the complaint, OSHA will guide you through the next steps of the process. They will provide assistance in resolving the issue and ensuring workplace safety. They may conduct an investigation and inspection of the workplace to assess compliance with OSHA regulations. OSHA will inform you about any actions they plan to take and keep you updated on the progress of your complaint. By cooperating with OSHA and providing them with all the necessary information, you are actively contributing to the promotion of safe working conditions for yourself and your colleagues.


File a Written Complaint

Submit your written complaint to OSHA promptly if requested, ensuring it is submitted within the specified timeframe. Include all relevant details and supporting documentation to bolster your case and provide a comprehensive account of the violation or hazard. This may encompass photographs, videos, witness statements, medical records, or any other evidence that substantiates your claims. Remember to retain a copy of the complaint for your personal records, as it may serve as a reference point throughout the investigation process.

When submitting your written complaint to OSHA, organize the information in a clear and easy-to-follow manner. Begin by clearly stating the nature of the violation or hazard, providing a concise and objective description. Include specific dates, times, and locations that are pertinent to the incident, as well as the names and job titles of individuals involved or responsible. Present a thorough account of the events, emphasizing any unsafe conditions or behaviors that occurred. Use bullet points or numbered lists to present your information in a well-structured format. By providing OSHA with all the necessary details and documentation, you greatly enhance the chances of a successful investigation and resolution of the issue at hand.


Follow Up

Stay in contact with OSHA to check the status of your complaint. It is crucial to maintain regular communication with OSHA so that you can stay informed about the progress of your complaint. This will help you track the status of your case and ensure that it is being addressed promptly. To do this, reach out to your assigned OSHA representative and inquire about any updates or developments. Be proactive in asking for updates if you haven’t heard from them in a while. By staying in contact with OSHA, you demonstrate your commitment to resolving the issue and show that you are actively involved in the process.

Provide any additional information or evidence they may require. OSHA may need more information or evidence to further investigate your complaint. It is important to be cooperative and responsive when they request this additional documentation. Be prepared to provide any relevant materials, such as photographs, videos, or witness statements, that can support your complaint. Remember to organize and present the information clearly and concisely to help OSHA understand the situation more effectively. By promptly providing any additional information or evidence they may need, you contribute to a thorough and efficient investigation process, increasing the chances of a satisfactory resolution.


Know Your Rights

Educate yourself about your rights as an employee under OSHA regulations. It is crucial to understand the protections and standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. Start by familiarizing yourself with the OSHA website, which provides a wealth of information on employee rights and responsibilities. Take the time to read through the OSHA poster, which should be prominently displayed in your workplace, as it outlines your rights and the employer’s obligations. Additionally, review OSHA’s guidelines on specific hazards relevant to your industry or job role. This will give you a solid foundation of knowledge to advocate for your safety and well-being at work.

For instance, if you work in a construction industry, delve into OSHA’s guidelines for construction safety, which cover topics such as fall protection, electrical hazards, and excavation safety. Understand the requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to properly use and maintain it. By being aware of these regulations, you can actively ensure that your employer is upholding their responsibilities and that you are working in a safe environment.

Familiarize yourself with protections against retaliation and discrimination. As an employee, it is important to know that you have the right to speak up about safety concerns without fearing retaliation from your employer. Understand the protections provided by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program, which safeguards employees who report violations or raise concerns about workplace safety. If you believe you have faced retaliation for exercising your rights, document the incidents and gather any evidence that may support your claim. Seek legal advice if necessary to understand the options available to you and take appropriate action to protect your rights.

For example, if you experience discrimination or retaliation after reporting a workplace hazard, consult with an employment attorney who specializes in OSHA-related cases. They can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and advocate on your behalf. Remember, knowledge is power, and by educating yourself on your rights and seeking legal advice if needed, you are taking proactive steps to protect yourself and create a safer work environment for all.

Taking Action with Confidence

In conclusion, filing a complaint with OSHA is an essential step in promoting workplace safety and protecting the well-being of employees. We have discussed the key aspects of the process, from gathering evidence to submitting the complaint. By following these proper steps, we can make a significant impact on creating a safe and healthy working environment for ourselves and our fellow colleagues. Remember, it is our collective responsibility to prioritize safety and hold employers accountable. Together, we can make a difference and ensure that every workplace adheres to OSHA regulations.

Effective Strategies

  • Familiarize yourself with OSHA’s complaint process by visiting their official website
  • Gather all relevant information about the workplace violation, including dates, times, and specific details
  • Make sure you have a clear understanding of your rights as an employee, as outlined by OSHA
  • It’s important to document any evidence or supporting information that can strengthen your complaint
  • Contact OSHA directly through their toll-free number or by filing an online complaint form on their website
  • Be prepared to provide your personal information and details about the company or employer you are filing a complaint against
  • Clearly and concisely explain the nature of the violation, ensuring you include any potential hazards or unsafe conditions
  • If applicable, mention any previous attempts to address the issue internally within your workplace
  • Cooperate fully with OSHA throughout the complaint process, providing any additional information or evidence they may require
  • Stay informed about your rights and responsibilities during the investigation, and remember that OSHA will keep your identity confidential if requested
  • Follow up with OSHA if necessary, to obtain updates on the status of your complaint and any actions taken

Navigating the OSHA 10 Information Resource like a Pro

  • First, familiarize yourself with the OSHA 10 Information Resource website by exploring its different sections and categories. This will give you an overview of the resources available to you
  • Use the search bar to quickly find specific topics or keywords related to workplace safety that you are interested in or need information about
  • Take advantage of the safety and health topics section, which provides detailed guidance on various safety issues, such as hazard identification, personal protective equipment, and emergency planning
  • Utilize the downloadable resources, such as fact sheets, posters, and brochures, which can be printed and used as reference materials or for training purposes
  • Stay up to date with the latest news and updates from OSHA by regularly visiting the news section of the website. This will help you stay informed about any regulatory changes or important safety updates
  • Consider signing up for OSHA’s email updates or newsletters to receive the latest information directly in your inbox
  • Lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out to OSHA’s customer service or helpline if you have any specific questions or need further assistance. They are there to help and provide guidance on workplace safety matters