Employees who believe that they are working in a hazardous environment or who think their employers may be violating safety and health regulations can contact OSHA to request an inspection. Workers can ask OSHA not to inform their employer who requested the inspection, but it is illegal for employers to retaliate against an employee who files a complaint about unsafe working conditions with OSHA. This includes firing, transferring or demoting the employee.
Workers in Ohio can contact one of the state’s four OSHA offices, which are located in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo to request an inspection. Complaints sent online or by phone are often resolved with an informal phone call to the employer in question. Conversely, complaints that are mailed or faxed in usually result in an on-site inspection.
During this inspection, employees may accompany the OSHA inspector. They can also participate in a meeting with the inspector and employer before and after the inspection. They can also speak privately with the inspector if that is their preference. While OSHA inspectors prefer to meet with a union director or employee representatives, they will speak with several employees in the event that such an individual is not present.
If the inspector finds that OSHA regulations have been violated, he or she may issue fines or citations to the employer, which includes providing information regarding suggested changes and a date by which those changes must be implemented. Employees may appeal to have those deadlines moved forward, while employers can appeal to have the citation redacted. If OSHA decides not to issue a citation, employees may request that the case be reviewed.
Source: United States Department of Labor, “Workers can ask OSHA to Inspect their Workplace“