If you consider your workplace dangerous, you can file a claim with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA is an agency of the federal government and does not administer workers compensation programs, which are administered by state governments. The role of OSHA is to address hazardous workplace conditions and help workers and their employers prevent injuries and illnesses.
OSHA considers a claim worthy of investigation if the information provided in the claim demonstrates that conditions in the workplace pose a threat to the health and safety of workers. OSHA is interested in unaddressed conditions that are responsible for reportable injuries. If your injury goes beyond a fall or a scratch and causes you to miss work or requires you to be on restricted duty for more than one shift, it is a reportable injury.
Getting started on your OSHA claim
A successful suit against an employer requires plenty of documentation. You need to provide proof that your employer knew about a hazardous condition and decided to ignore it, or provide proof that the employer engaged in retaliation or discrimination against workers who report injuries.
Complaints can be filed with OSHA online, here. A PDF version of the form can also be downloaded and faxed to one of OSHA’s regional or area offices. They can also be reached by telephone at 1-800-321-OSHA.
When filing a claim, it is important to provide as much detailed information as possible. It is not necessary to cite a specific OSHA regulation violated by an employer, but the complaint form should give specific places where unsafe conditions exist, the names of any toxic or hazardous substances used in the workplace, on which shifts the condition exists and how many workers are exposed to the unsafe condition.