OSHA forms whistleblower protection advisory committee

By Michael P. Tremoglie | May 18, 2012

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Thursday that it will establish a Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee.

The purpose of the committee is to advise the Secretary of Labor and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health about improvements to OSHA's whistleblower protections.

"Workers who expose securities and financial fraud, adulterated foods, air and water pollution, and workplace safety hazards have a legal right to speak out without fear of retaliation, and the laws that protect these whistleblowers also protect the health, safety and well-being of all Americans," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

"Establishing a federal advisory committee is another important effort to strengthen protections for whistleblowers."

Specifically, the committee will advise OSHA about development and implementation of improved customer service models, enhancements in the investigative and enforcement process, training and regulations governing OSHA investigations. It will also help OSHA in cooperative activities with other federal agencies that are responsible for areas covered by the whistleblower protection statutes enforced by OSHA.

"This new Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee will help our agency sustain an open dialogue with stakeholders and experts, and will promote the transparency and accountability that are the cornerstone of this administration," added Michaels.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and 20 other statutes. It protects employees who report violations of various laws concerning, among other things, transportation and consumer products.

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