Posted by: CS&A Insurance | January 7, 2013

OSHA Safety and Whistleblowers

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OSHA Launches Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for Whistleblower Complaints

In an effort to resolve disputes between employers and whistleblowers in a more cooperative and voluntary manner, OSHA recently launched an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) pilot program. Approximately 2,500 complaints are filed annually with OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program, and with increased incentives for whistleblowers, the number of complaints is expected to rise. The goal of ADR is to quickly and efficiently resolve those claims, while bypassing the lengthy and costly investigation that would ensue if the courts got involved.

Pilot Program in Two OSHA Regions

The ADR pilot program will be implemented in two of the 10 OSHA regions—the Midwest region headquartered in Chicago and the West Coast region headquartered in San Francisco. After 120 days, the pilot will be evaluated and OSHA will determine if ADR will be extended to all regions.

Two Methods of ADR

Early resolution and mediation are the two ADR methods that will be used in the pilot program. After a whistleblower files a complaint with OSHA, all parties will be notified of their ADR options. With early resolution, the ADR coordinator will help the parties reach a settlement before the respondent provides a response to the complainant. Under the pilot program, both regions will be able to conduct up to 15 mediation sessions each, with unlimited early resolution.

ADR’s Benefits

“OSHA is committed to fair, effective and timely enforcement of the whistleblower laws delegated to us by Congress,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Alternative dispute resolution can provide immediate relief and finality to both parties.”

For more information about the whistleblower ADR pilot program, visit www.osha.gov.

If you need more information on whether your business is OSHA Compliant please feel free to call the experts at CS&A Insurance at 800.999.1109 or check out our OSHA Commercial Reference Guide Publication. Also be sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Channel and subscribe to this blog.


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