OSHA's Non-Retaliation Policy

OSHA has a long-established policy that information inquiries received by the agency regarding safety and health regulations or other safety-related subjects shall not trigger an inspection. The exact wording is:

"Employer Information Requests. Contacts for technical information initiated by employers or their representatives will not trigger an inspection, nor will such employer inquiries protect the requesting employer against inspections conducted pursuant to existing policy, scheduling guidelines and inspection programs established by the Agency."

There are a few rare exceptions to the policy, such as the employer notifying OSHA of the presence of an imminent danger or the occurrence of a fatality. However, OSHA policy is to provide assistance to help employers prevent and reduce workplace fatalities, illnesses and injuries.

Please note: OSHA's non-retaliation policy is outlined in the OSHA Field Operations Manual (FOM) (OSHA Instruction CPL 02-00-164) Chapter 2, Section IV.B.4.

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) established the Small Business Administration (SBA) Ombudsman and SBA Regional Fairness Boards to investigate small business complaints about Federal agency enforcement actions. Small businesses should not fear retaliation for comments regarding actions by OSHA personnel conducting compliance or enforcement activities. If you are a small business and believe that you have been treated unfairly by OSHA, you may file an electronic comment/complaint with the SBA Ombudsman.

Or you may also contact the SBA's Office of the National Ombudsman at: Telephone: (888) REG-FAIR (734-3247); Fax: (202) 481-5719; or Mail: Office of the National Ombudsman U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 3rd Street, SW, MC2120, Washington, DC 20416-0005.