OSHA has released a new edition of its Whistleblower Investigations Manual, one of a series of measures meant to improve the agency's Whistleblower Protection Program.

The Whistleblower program addresses retaliation complaints under the 21 whistleblower statutes delegated to OSHA. The new manual contains updates to case handling procedures, information on the new laws enacted since the manual was last updated in 2003, and other information to guide the program.

Key changes include:

  • A requirement that investigators make every attempt to interview the complainant in the case
  • Clarification that whistleblower complaints under any statute may be filed orally, in writing, or electronically and in any language.
  • Clarifications of the investigative process including method and recording of interviews and processing of dually filed complaints in state plan states.
  • New chapters for processing complaints filed under the Federal Railroad Safety Act, the National Transit Systems Security Act, and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, as well as significant updates to the Surface Transportation Assistance Act and Sarbanes-Oxley chapters
  • Expanded guidance on dealing with uncooperative respondents and issuing administrative subpoenas during whistleblower investigations

The updated manual is available at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=5061