Recognizing that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, OSHA introduced last week its draft document, “Protecting Whistleblowers: Recommended Practices for Employers for Preventing and Addressing Retaliation” (available here).  In the draft document, OSHA identifies these five key steps to creating an effective anti-retaliation program:

  1. Ensure leadership commitment
  2. Foster an anti-retaliation culture
  3. Implement a system for responding to reports of retaliation
  4. Conduct anti-retaliation training
  5. Monitor progress and program improvement

OSHA is seeking public comments on this document, which was drafted based on the recommendations made by the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee in its document “Best Practices for protecting Whistleblowers and Preventing and Addressing Retaliation”.  The comment period is open through January 19, 2016 and interested parties are advised to read both documents to gain a full understanding of the recommended practices for preventing and addressing retaliation that OSHA is seeking public comment on.  Comments can be posted for OSHA-2015-0025 on Regulations.gov.

Although OSHA believes that these recommended practices are “adaptable to most workplaces, these guidelines may need to be adjusted for such variables as employer size, the makeup of the workforce, and the type of work performed.”  With that in mind, OSHA is specifically looking for feedback on the following:

  1. What, if anything, is missing or not addressed in the document which should be included?
  2. Does it contain any concepts which are hard to understand?
  3. What challenges do you anticipate in implementing the recommendations?
  4. Are there any issues specific to small businesses that need to be addressed?
  5. Are there any industry-specific issues which need to be addressed, possibly in a separate document