Workers and their union representatives now have the ability to electronically file whistleblower-retaliation complaints, thanks to an online form that OSHA added to its website earlier this month.

OSHA enforces 22 statutes that protect workers from retaliation when they report employer violations of federal regulations ranging from water pollution to securities fraud. The agency said the online form gives whistleblowers “an additional way to reach out for OSHA assistance.”

"The ability of workers to speak out and exercise their rights without fear of retaliation provides the backbone for some of American workers' most essential protections," OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels said. "Whistleblower laws protect not only workers, but also the public at large and now workers will have an additional avenue available to file a complaint with OSHA."

Whistleblowers now can file discrimination complaints by calling or writing to their OSHA regional or area office, or by completing the online form on OSHA’s whistleblower page.

The online form prompts workers to provide basic information about their complaints “so they can be easily contacted for follow-up,” OSHA noted. The system automatically routes complaints to the appropriate regional whistleblower investigators.

Workers also have the option of downloading the form and submitting it to OSHA in hard-copy format by fax, mail or hand-delivery. The paper version is identical to the electronic version and requests the same information necessary to initiate a whistleblower investigation, OSHA noted.

Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets and instructions on how to submit the form in hard-copy format, is available on OSHA’s whistleblower web page.