In fiscal year 2012 a total of 2,787 whistleblower complaints – the largest number to date – were filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), according to newly released data published on the agency’s Whistleblower Protection Program webpage. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions in 22 statutes, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Affordable Care Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.
Most of the whistleblower charges (1,706) were filed under the OSH Act. The next most common claims were filed under the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) (353 complaints); Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) (334 complaints); and the SOX Act (164 complaints).
The agency made determinations in 2,867 whistleblower complaints during this time. More than half (1,665) of these determinations were complaint dismissals, while another 592 cases were settled. A total of 565 charges were withdrawn in FY 2012. OSHA issued merit determinations in only 45 complaints.
Over the past year OSHA has issued a number of regulations setting forth procedures for handling retaliation complaints under the whistleblower provisions of several statutes, and has created a 15-member Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (WPAC) to make recommendations to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the agency’s Whistleblower Protection Program. The first meeting of the WPAC is scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, 2013.