Federal agencies Whistleblower

Final rule addresses whistleblower protections for seamen

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Washington – A new final rule from OSHA is aimed at improving protections for seamen who inform the government about violations of maritime safety laws or regulations.

The rule, published in the Sept. 15 Federal Register, institutes procedures and time frames for managing retaliation complaints under the Seaman’s Protection Act. It also defines “seaman” as any worker aboard a U.S.-flag vessel or any other vessel owned by a U.S. citizen – which includes corporations that are incorporated in the United States.

“Seamen should be free to exercise their rights under the law without fear of termination or other retaliation by their employers,” OSHA administrator David Michaels said in a press release. “This final rule makes good on the promise to stand by those workers who have the courage to come forward when they believe their employers are violating maritime safety laws.”

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions within the Occupational Safety and Health Act, as well as nearly two dozen other statutes.

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