Transportation Industry Asks OSHA for Whistleblower Improvements

Asher TobinIn The News, Press Release

The OSHA logo. The "o" is a camera lens

Transportation Industry Asks OSHA for Whistleblower Improvements

(Transport Topics) Raising awareness of OSHA’s whistleblower rules would improve the agency’s enforcement of laws banning retaliation against employees in the rail and trucking industries, business and worker representatives said.

At issue is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s plan to upgrade its whistleblower protection program. On June 12, at the Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, OSHA took its first step under the Trump administration, holding a session where transportation industry and labor representatives made their cases.

“A lack of resources is a crucial problem,” said Azita Mashayekhi, an industrial hygienist with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Washington. This could be resolved by doubling the federal whistleblower budget.

OSHA enforces the anti-retaliation provisions of 22 laws from worker safety to financial malfeasance. Investigations of ground transportation whistleblower complaints accounted for 22% of the 3,303 cases that OSHA opened in fiscal year 2017, according to agency data.

Three federal laws — the Federal Railroad Safety Act, the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, and the National Transit Systems Security Act —extend whistleblower protections to railroad, trucking or transit company workers.

More sessions are planned to hear from other industries about the whistleblower rules focused on them. No dates have been announced.

Read more about this whistleblower protection story at Transport Topics