Filing a Complaint
Workers are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. To help assure a safe and healthful workplace, OSHA also provides workers with the right to:
For more information, visit the Workers' page
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives employees and their representatives the right to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or their employer is not following OSHA standards. Further, the Act gives complainants the right to request that their names not be revealed to their employers.
Complaints from employees and their representatives are taken seriously by OSHA. It is against the law for an employer to fire, demote, transfer, or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.
OSHA will keep your information confidential. We can help.
If you think your job is unsafe and you want to ask for an inspection, contact us. It is confidential. If you have been fired, demoted, transferred or discriminated against in any way for using your rights under the law, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged discrimination.
Complaint Filing Options
You have these options to file your safety and health complaint:
To File your Discrimination Complaint
File a discrimination complaint if your employer has punished you for using any employee rights established under the OSH Act or for refusing to work when faced with an imminent danger of death or serious injury and there is insufficient time for OSHA to inspect. If you have been punished or discriminated against for using your rights, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged reprisal for most complaints. No form is required, but you must call or file a letter with the OSHA Area Office nearest you within 30 days of the alleged discrimination. In states with approved state plans, employees may file a complaint with both the State and Federal OSHA.
When Can a Complaint Be Filed?*
OSHA recommends that employees try to resolve safety and health issues first by reporting them to their supervisors, managers or the safety and health committee. At any time, however, employees can complain to their local OSHA Area or Regional Office and ask for an inspection or an investigation. (Complaints to federal OSHA from workers in states with OSHA-approved state plans will be forwarded to the appropriate state plan for response.)
* Note: Discrimination complaints must be filed within 30 days of the alleged discrimination.
Who Can Complain?
Employees or their representatives have a right to request an inspection of a workplace if they believe there is a violation of a safety or health standard, or if there is any danger that threatens physical harm, or if an "imminent danger" exists. Employee representatives, for the purposes of filing a complaint, are defined as any of the following:
In addition, anyone who knows about a workplace safety or health hazard may report unsafe conditions to OSHA, and OSHA will investigate the concerns reported.
What Information Must the Employee Provide?
Employees or their representatives must provide enough information for OSHA to determine that a hazard probably exists. Workers do not have to know whether a specific OSHA standard has been violated in order to file a complaint.
The following are examples of the type of information that would be useful to OSHA when receiving a complaint. It is not necessary to have the answers to all these questions in order to file a complaint. The list is provided here as a guide to help you provide as much complete and accurate information as possible:
How does federal OSHA Respond to Complaints?
See Chapter 9 of the Field Operations Manual, available in PDF*.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF documents.