With OSHA whistleblower cases on the rise, are the whistleblowers themselves at risk?

OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program under fire for alleged mishandling of cases.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program under fire for alleged mishandling of cases.

According to NBC Bay Area news, OSHA whistleblowers are not being given the guaranteed protections by The Federal Whistleblower Protection Program, run by OSHA.

The Whistleblower Protection Program, according to LAW360, covers 22 federal statutes, and a mix of different transportation, environmental and consumer product issues.

One OSHA agency investigator is speaking out, alleging that the department he works in, overseeing California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii, does not fully investigate or manage each case properly.

He alleges that supervisors instructed him to rush investigations to avoid large backlog of cases and dismiss complaints even when they contained actual evidence and merit.

According to The National Law Review, OSHA investigated three percent more whistleblower cases between 2013 and 2014, with a total of 3,060 cases in the 2014 fiscal year.

Emily Spieler, chairperson of OSHA”s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, told The National Review that this spurt of cases could be related to numerous factors including online filing established in 2013 and attention-grabbing media outcomes for large payout cases.

According to The National Review, the 2016 fiscal year budget, proposed by President Obama, could increase OSHA’s budget by seven percent, resulting in over $592 million. “The bulk of the increase, $26.2 million, would go toward federal and state enforcement efforts and whistleblower protections. Federal compliance assistance efforts would increase by just $4.6 million,” they said.

According to OSHAlawupdate.com, this could create up to 90 new positions including enforcement and reviewing received injury and hospital reports.

The Whistleblower Program was enacted in 1970 to protect against retaliation in the workplace for reporting lack of OSHA compliance suites and training. According to the program, employers cannot blacklist, demote, fire, re-assign or reduce paying hours for reporting safety training infractions or unsafe work conditions.

If you feel that your rights have been violated file a complaint with OSHA. For other OSHA news or tips for better workplace practices, check out other Mastery Technologies blog posts.

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