On Safety

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May 9, 2014

Occasionally, someone says something about safety I find noteworthy. In today’s post, OSHA administrator David Michaels explains why certain legislative changes need to be made to his agency’s whistleblower statute.

“We could be wrong, and right now there’s no recourse.”
– David Michaels, OSHA administrator

Michaels made his comment during an April 29 hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee. He was referring to the lack of administrative review in the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s whistleblower statute. Basically, once OSHA deems a whistleblower complaint is without merit, it can’t be appealed.

This is unlike newer whistleblower statutes in which parties can object to OSHA’s findings and receive fresh hearings from the Office of Administrative Law Judges. Those decisions can in turn be reviewed by the Administrative Review Board, whose decisions can be subsequently appealed further to the U.S. Courts of Appeals.

For workers wishing a whistleblower case regarding unsafe work practices had a different outcome, no alternative currently exists – OSHA’s say is final.

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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