Contractors must be extremely diligent when managing project sites if they want to ensure that all workers are safe and accounted for; otherwise, they could be dealt a citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In this article, a Florida OSHA lawyer will discuss the OSHA’s criteria for investigating a complaint. Although contractors would prefer to not think about OSHA investigating their job site or receiving a citation, it’s important to understand the health and safety agency’s criteria for investigating complaints, so that you have a better understanding of how you can maintain a safe and healthy workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 establishes legal grounds for employees and their representatives to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they think severe hazards are not being limited through practical application of relevant OSHA standards. In fact, a worker doesn’t need comprehensive knowledge to file a complaint. If they believe the conditions on the project site are unsafe, they can file a complaint without knowing which specific OSHA standard is being violated. The complaint must be filed in a timely manner because OSHA citations have a statute of limitations of six months. All complaints remain confidential. Once a complaint is filed, it’s important that contractors immediately contact a Florida OSHA defense lawyer.
OSHA’s Investigation Criteria
According to OSHA’s website, at least one of the following eight criteria needs to be met for the health and safety agency to conduct an investigation of a workplace:
- If a worker submits a detailed and signed complaint describing the violation that exists at the job site
- Allegations of an injury that transpired because of a hazard
- A report was filed regarding “imminent danger”
- If a company covered by OSHA’s local or national program has a complaint filed against them regarding a hazard
- If the employer fails to provide a sufficient response to a complaint submitted via OSHA’s phone/fax investigation process
- Any complaint filed against a company that has a history of “egregious, willful or failure-to-abate” citations within a three-year period
- If a “whistleblower investigator” referral was made
- A job site that is currently undergoing or scheduled to undergo an OSHA inspection and a complaint is made
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.