OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA Trade Release
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Communications
For Immediate Release
OSHA Trade Release
April 5, 2004
Contact: Bill Wright
Agency opens 60-day period for public comment
WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration published in today's Federal Register an interim final rule establishing procedures for the handling of whistleblower complaints under the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. OSHA is seeking comments from interested members of the public.
The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act was signed into law on Dec. 17, 2002 and applies to pipeline facilities that transport natural gas or hazardous liquids in interstate commerce. The act also prohibits pipeline operators from firing or taking adverse action against workers who provide information regarding pipeline safety to either the employer or the government.
"The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act significantly strengthens the enforcement of pipeline safety laws," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw, "and whistleblower protection is an important aspect of it. We want to assure workers are adequately protected if they speak out against possible pipeline safety violations."
The rule establishes procedures for the expeditious handling of discrimination complaints made by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf. Included in the interim final rule are procedures for submitting complaints under the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act, investigations, and issuance of findings and preliminary orders. The interim rule also details litigation procedures and how one can object to the findings and request a hearing. The final section of the rule discusses miscellaneous provisions including withdrawals of complaints and settlements, plus judicial review and judicial enforcement.
Persons wishing to comment on the interim final rule should submit written comments no later than June 4, 2004 to: OSHA Docket Office, Docket C-11, Room N2625, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. Comments may also be submitted via fax by calling (202) 693-1648, or electronically to http://ecomments.osha.gov.
In addition to the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act, OSHA administers whistleblower regulations for 13 other laws. Information on the agency's responsibilities for enforcing whistleblower protection is available on the agency's website.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and promoting the safety and health of America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7773 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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