The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides employees certain rights and allows them to report employers and request an inspection if they believe their workplace is unsafe or their employer committed safety violations. They may also file discrimination complaints within 30 days of the occurrence.
OSHA recommends that the first step you take in resolving your complaint is to take the complaint to the source itself. That means telling your supervisor about the issue. Talking can resolve many issues on the job if your employer is concerned about maintaining a safe work environment. Some employers may simply be unaware of a problem and fix it upon learning of it.
If your report changes nothing, then you need to report the violation to your local OSHA office. In New York state, you can do that via the:
- Albany Area Office: (518) 464-4338;
- Queens District Office of the Manhattan Area Office: (718) 279-9060;
- Buffalo Area Office, U. S. Dept. of Labor/OSHA: (716) 551-3053;
- Long Island Area Office: (516) 334-3344;
- Manhattan Area Office: (212) 620-3200;
- Syracuse Area Office: (315) 451-0808; and
- Tarrytown Area Office: (914) 524-7510.
However, if you file without having the proper information to lodge a complaint, you may get nowhere. If you don’t present your information in the right way, you may get nowhere. Read on to learn the types of information you need to file the complaint.
How to Effectively File an OSHA Complaint
Before you call one of the above numbers or file a complaint online with OSHA, the agency recommends gathering the proper information, such as:
- number of employees exposed to the hazard;
- circumstances of exposure (how? when? which shifts?);
- type of work performed around the hazard;
- any equipment, materials or chemicals involved in the hazard;
- if employees were told about or received training for unsafe conditions;
- any procedures or operations involved;
- other work done in close proximity to the hazard;
- frequency and duration of the hazardous exposure;
- for how long hazard has existed;
- any attempts made to correct the problem;
- who has fallen ill because of the hazard, if anyone; and/or
- ‘near-miss’ incidents involving the hazard.
When filing your complaint, you don’t have to do it by yourself. You can use a lawyer. You can also choose to be anonymous. OSHA takes these complaints very seriously and it is against the law for your boss to retaliate against you in any way if you choose not to remain anonymous when blowing the whistle against an employer for a safety violation.
You can file:
- by calling;
- mail in a complaint; or
- fax the complaint.
Call the appropriate number above for addresses and fax numbers.
If You’ve Already Been Injured
If you’ve already suffered an injury on the job because of this unsafe work condition, speak to a lawyer about your rights and workers’ comp benefits for your injury to cover:
- medical bills and future care;
- disability; and/or
- lost wages.
Contact the New York office of Markhoff and Mittman in New York City to discuss the hazardous environment, whether you should file a complaint with OSHA, and your options to file for workers’ comp benefits. Call us at 866-205-2415 or visit our contact page.