Trade News Release
Friday, April 28, 2000
Contact: Michael Fluharty
PHONE: (202) 693-1892
E-Complaint System Activated as U.S. Observes Workers' Memorial Day
OSHA TO BEGIN ACCEPTING WORKER COMPLAINTS ON-LINE
Beginning today, workers can use the Internet to file complaints about safety and health hazards at their workplaces, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today.
OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress says the move was prompted by the growing number of Americans who have Internet access and their willingness to conduct business electronically. According to Jeffress, "The Workers' Page," will be an on-line resource that gives employees an electronic option for filing formal complaints. Previously, employees had to either call or write OSHA when alleging workplace hazards.
Jeffress made the announcement on Workers' Memorial Day, held annually since 1988 to remember the nearly 60,000 men, women, and children who die each year from either occupational accidents or illnesses.
"Workers play a vital role in identifying workplace hazards, and, whenever possible, working with their employers to correct them," Jeffress said. "And many times employers will promptly fix the hazards. But if they don't, workers can file a complaint with OSHA by telephone, fax, letter, or now electronically through our website.
"Employee complaints are one very important way of directing OSHA inspectors to sites where serious hazards exist," Jeffress noted.
The Workers' Page is available on OSHA's home page at www.osha.gov.
Once at the website workers will find an easy-to-use system that requires complainants to enter a few fields of information, including their name and telephone number, and the employer's
name, a description of the hazard and its location. OSHA estimates that it takes about 10 minutes to complete the on-line complaint form and send it. The form is automatically transmitted for follow-up to the appropriate OSHA office within the complainant's state.
In addition to providing a vehicle for filing complaints on-line, "The Workers' Page" also contains important background information about worker rights and employer responsibilities. The site also provides electronic links to many sources of information about occupational safety and health issues.
All on-line complaints are investigated and many can be resolved informally -- usually by telephone and fax -- with the employer. Those complaints not informally resolved are likely to result in on-site inspections of the facilities by OSHA.
Complainants concerned about their confidentiality are urged to use either a home computer or a publicly accessible computer, such as those found in local libraries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives employees the right to file complaints about workplace safety and health hazards. In addition, the Act gives complainants the right to request that their names not be revealed to their employers.
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The text of this news release is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-693-1999.