Filing a whistleblower complaint is about to become a whole lot easier. In line with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) increase focus on whistleblower protection, the agency has proposed a rule to allow for new ways to file a whistleblower complaint, including a web-based form.
Under Labour Code 6310, employers can’t retaliate against workers when they file an OSHA complaint. Examples of retaliation include firing, demoting, or transferring the complainant. Currently, the only way to file a whistleblower complaint is to contact the nearest office of the Division of Labour Standards Enforcement.
Under the new proposal, a whistleblower complaint would be a much easier affair, with only a few clicks and keystrokes separating an alleged retaliatory action and the submission of a complaint. If it goes through, the rule would have the potential to dramatically increase the amount of whistleblower complaints filed.
But it is not a done deal yet. The public has until March 18th to comment on the proposal. Go here to take a look at the document in the Federal Register and go to regulations.gov if you want to provide feedback.
Attention home builders! If you were expecting to face more stringent fall protection measures next week, you’ve got a bit of a reprieve. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) announced yesterday it is extending its temporary enforcement measures on fall protection through to March 15, 2013.
Previously, OSHA had planned to enforce its new Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction next week. However, potentially influenced by call from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), OSHA decided to push the temporary enforcement measures by three months. These measures can be thought of as a means by which OSHA eases the home-building industry into compliance with the new residential construction rules, which calls for increased fall protection for workers engaged in operations six feet or more above lower levels.
The temporary enforcement measures offer employers:
Priority free on-site compliance assistance.
Extended abatement dates.
Measures to ensure consistency.
Since falls are both the primary source of fatalities and the most-cited violation in the construction industry, it’s worth going out of your way to protect front-line workers, and as a worker, it is important to know your rights.
Fisher Sand and Gravel, a North Dakota-based aggregate producer, has reached a settlement agreement with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) after claims of air and water quality violation at some of its Arizona operations.
While Fisher received a fine in the settlement, more than half of the funds will not be collected by the ADEQ and instead directed to the implementation of an Intelex-powered Environmental Management System (EMS), which is expected to help the company avoid future violations and boost environmental stewardship. The EMS will feature a continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing and improving the actions that Fisher undertakes to meet its business goals, and represents the company’s expanded commitment to environmental stewardship and the public health of the communities it serves.
The whole situation is a reminder of the fact that businesses can reduce the impact of fines by taking steps to proactively minimize the risk of future violations by implementing an electronic EMS, as with safety management, where businesses can curb OSHA fines by implementing streamlined, electronic safety management systems.
The implementation of an EMS adds to Fisher’s other sustainability commitments, including the use of rubberized asphalt, which reduces waste sent to landfill, as well as air separators that reduce water consumption. In recent years, Fisher also received awards for its safety performance and “outstanding” philanthropy.
According to the ADEQ, the implementation of an Intelex EMS is “a good first step” that will help Fisher “take its environmental obligations seriously and comply with the laws that protect the environment and public health.”