OSHA makes changes to whistleblower program

August 3, 2011

Washington – OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program will report directly to agency administrator David Michaels instead of the Directorate of Enforcement, OSHA announced Aug. 1.

The change is one of several intended to improve the program in light of deficiencies identified by the Government Accountability Office and an internal audit (.pdf file) from December 2010. GAO identified problems with transparency and accountability, investigator training, and internal communications.

As part of the restructuring, OSHA is testing changes in field structure and, beginning in fiscal year 2012, the agency’s budget will have a separate line item for the whistleblower program to better track activity. The agency also added 25 new investigators.

Other measures include:

  • Federal and State Plan whistleblower investigators will attend a national whistleblower training conference in September.
  • A Whistleblower Investigations Manual will be issued with updated information on procedures, enforcement guidance and laws passed since 2003.
  • A modified data collection system and audit program will ensure complaints are handled in a timely manner.