OSHA has issued recommended practices for anti-retaliation programs to help employers create workplaces in which workers feel comfortable voicing their concerns without fear of retaliation.

The recommendations are intended to apply to all public and private sector employers covered by the 22 whistleblower protection laws that OSHA enforces.

The recommendations are adaptable to most workplaces, and employers may adjust them for such variables as number of employees, the makeup of the workforce, and the type of work performed. The concepts can be used to create a new program or enhance an existing one.

Five Key Elements

The document outlines five key elements of an effective anti-retaliation program:

  1. Management leadership, commitment, and accountability
  2. System for listening to and resolving employees’ safety and compliance concerns
  3. System for receiving and responding to reports of retaliation
  4. Anti-retaliation training for employees and managers
  5. Program oversight

An initial draft of the recommended practices was posted for review and comment in the fall of 2016; the final document incorporates many of these comments.

The recommendations are advisory only and do not interpret or create any legal obligations or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations.