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August 11, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA updates investigations manual for handling retaliation complaints under whistleblower statutes

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently revised the agency’s Whistleblower Investigations Manual. The updated manual supersedes the January 2016 version and is the first complete overhaul since 2011.

The investigations manual outlines procedures, legal concepts and other information related to handling retaliation complaints under the various whistleblower statutes that OSHA enforces.

Key changes in the manual include:

  • Incorporating past policy memoranda and procedures piloted by OSHA field offices.
  • Clarifying and streamlining procedures that lacked sufficient guidance or were unclear in the 2016 version.
  • Statute-specific chapters were removed and converted into statute-specific desk aids.
  • Restructuring the manual such that Chapter 2 now collects and explains the legal concepts and principles that guide whistleblower investigations. In previous versions, these concepts were introduced throughout the manual.

"We are working to improve our whistleblower program to help ensure workers have a voice on the job free of retaliation," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 25 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.

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