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OSHA’s Whistleblower Protections Program gets Makeover to Address Employees Concerns of Work Accidents in Atlanta and Elsewhere

The Whistleblower Protections Program is currently enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The law aims to protect employees who bring up safety concerns on the job to help prevent a work injury in Georgia or elsewhere. Employees are protected from any form of retaliation from the employer, including being discharged or being discriminated against if they bring up or report any form of unsafe work concerns. Employees have the right to bring up concerns under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
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OSHA recently announced that it made this program even more beneficial. The program now uses 21 statutes to protect American workers who report any sort of safety concerns or on the job safety violations. These statues cover commercial motor carrier, environmental, health care reform, pipeline, railroad, airline, commercial motor carrier, financial reform, nuclear, public transportation agency and securities laws.

Our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys understand how important the Whistleblower Protections Program is as employers have been known to take disciplinary actions against those who raise these types of concerns in the workplace. Even when these concerns are brought up, they can be ignored by employers. It is important to speak up and contact an attorney if you find yourself being discriminated against after discussing safe work procedures at your job. Employers are required to provide safe work conditions to all employees and must abide by a number of laws, regulations and recommendations when doing so.

“The ability of workers to speak out and exercise their legal rights without fear of retaliation is crucial to many of the legal protections and safeguards that all Americans value,” said Dr. David Michaels, OSHA’s Assistant Secretary. “The new measures will significantly strengthen OSHA’s enforcement of the 21 whistleblower laws that Congress charged OSHA with administering.”

Some of the changes that have been made in the Whistleblower Protection Program are as follows:

Training: Federal and state whistleblower investigators will be attending a training conference next month so that the Administration can ensure that all employees have completed all mandatory training classes and will be up with the new changes.

Program Policy: OSHA will release a new edition of their Whistleblower Investigations Manual. The new manual will include the new procedures and information pertaining to all of the new laws that have been added since the program was last updated back in 2003.

Restructuring: The Program will now be required to report to the assistant secretary instead of being operating in the Directorate of Enforcement. The Administration is also in the process of a pilot project that aims to find better ways to track and hold the Program more accountable for its accomplishments and activities.

Internal Systems: Internal systems are being modified so that employee complaints can be taken care of in a timely manner.

“OSHA is committed to correcting the issues brought to light by the GAO report and our own review,” said Dr. Michaels.

If you have experienced a serious injury at work in the Atlanta area and want to discuss your rights, contact the experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys at J. Franklin Burns. Call 404-303-7770 to make a free appointment to discuss your claim.

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