Similar to other whistleblower provisions, these regulations not
only allow workers to file complaints in writing, but also orally
and in other languages. According to OSHA, this approach improves access to the complaint-filing process for workers who may
have difficulty submitting written complaints. Additionally, workers will receive copies of documents submitted by the employer in
response to their whistleblower complaints, subject to applicable
privacy and confidentiality laws.
“Silenced workers are not safe workers,” said David Michaels,
assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
“Changes in the whistleblower provisions make good on the prom-
ise to stand by those workers who have the courage to come for-
ward when they believe their employer is violating an
environmental or nuclear safety law.”
The rule covers workers who voice concerns related to nuclear
and environmental safety or security under clean air and water,
safe drinking water, solid waste, and toxic substances, among oth-
ers. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of these nuclear
and environmental statutes and 14 other statutes protecting work-
ers who report violations of various airline, commercial motor car-
rier, consumer product, financial reform, health care reform,
pipeline, public transit, railroad, maritime and securities laws.
The text of the rule is available at
Workers in the mining, transportation, agriculture, forestry
and gardening industries have the highest risk of developing
rheumatoid arthritis, according to research conducted by the
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the University of
Helsinki and the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (“Work
Is a Factor in Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis,” www.yle.fi).
In 2004, 4. 9 million deaths were attributable to environmental exposure and management of selected chemicals, according
to a literature review conducted by the World Health Organization (“Knowns and unknowns on burden of disease due to
chemicals: a systematic review,” Environmental Health,
People who use the pesticides rotenone and paraquat are 2.5
times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, according to
research conducted by the National Institutes of Health
(“Rotenone, paraquat and Parkinson’s disease,” Environmental
Health Perspectives, Jan. 26, 2011).
Lead exposure below 5 µg/dL can lead to high blood pressure
in pregnant women, suggests a report published in
Environmental Health Perspectives (“Low Level Lead Exposure and Elevations in Blood Pressure During Pregnancy,” Feb. 3, 2011).
Workers are resigned to the threat of chemical risks and tend
not to seek information about risks from formal sources, states
a report by Belgian researchers (“Workers’ Perception of Chemical Risks: A Focus Group Study,” Risk Analysis, Feb. 2011).