how to report osha violations

How to Report OSHA Violations?

Workplace safety is a basic right. Making your work area safe is key to your health and mental well-being.

Here comes OSHA, an abbreviation for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

At AHC, we offer training courses and compliance services to help create safe and healthy job environments for every worker.

Check out our OSHA compliance page.

OSHA works around creating a safe and healthy job environment by setting rules. But what happens when those standards still need to be met?

That is where knowing how to report OSHA violations becomes essential.

Understanding OSHA Violations

Let’s first define an OSHA violation before we jump into how to report OSHA violations.

OSHA violations happen when a boss does not follow safety rules, putting the team in danger. These violations come in all shapes and sizes.

A minor issue could be not displaying safety signs properly. On the other hand, allowing a team to handle dangerous chemicals without safety equipment is a major violation.

Common violations include inadequate safety training and lack of PPE, leading to trip hazards. Recognizing these violations is the first step in ensuring a safer workplace.

Related: What are the Types of OSHA Violations?

Identifying Life-Threatening Hazards

Some hazards are more serious than others, and life-threatening hazards require immediate action.

A life-threatening hazard is any condition that poses an immediate risk of death or serious physical harm.

Examples include exposure to hazardous chemicals, unguarded machinery, or severe electrical hazards.

If a workplace hazard is life-threatening, you should not wait. Let your boss or safety officer know right away. If they do not quickly deal with the danger, you must tell OSHA. It is essential.

How to Report OSHA Violations?

Reporting OSHA violations is crucial for maintaining a safe workplace. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Document the Violation: Gather evidence of the violation, such as photographs, videos, witness statements, or any relevant documents.
  • Contact the Employer: Inform your employer about the problem first. They may not be aware of the violation and can fix it.
  • Report to OSHA: If your employer does not fix the issue or if it is very serious, report it directly to OSHA. You can do this online or over the phone.

How to File an OSHA Complaint?

One of the primary ways to report an OSHA violation is by filing a safety violation form, available on the OSHA website. When filling out this form, include details about:

  • The nature of the hazard.
  • Where it happened.
  • Any incidents linked to it.

Be accurate and thorough when filling out the form to ensure a proper investigation.

OSHA Deadlines and Timing

Knowing when to file an OSHA complaint is essential. Remember, OSHA expects complaints within a month of noticing a risky situation.

If you meet OSHA deadlines, your complaint may be accepted. Yet, some instances may bear exceptions, notably if the risk stays or there is proof of employer payback.

Keeping to these timelines means your complaint gets immediate action.

Can You File an OSHA Complaint Anonymously?

Yes, you can file an OSHA complaint anonymously. This option is particularly useful if you fear retaliation from your employer.

Anonymity can protect your identity and ensure your safety while the complaint is being investigated. To report anonymously, indicate your preference for anonymity on the complaint form.

OSHA takes these requests seriously and has measures in place to protect whistleblowers. However, be aware that complaints given without a name may need more time to investigate.

OSHA may have to collect extra information and cannot contact you directly.

What Happens When You File an OSHA Complaint?

If a worker files a complaint, OSHA will investigate it. They will decide if a checkup is needed. If so, an OSHA inspector will visit the workplace to investigate the hazard.

They talk to workers, review safety records, and observe working conditions.

The outcome could be citations and fines or must-do safety fixes. In severe cases, work may stop until things are safe again.

What Form Do You Use to Submit an OSHA Complaint?

The OSHA-7 form is the primary form for submitting complaints.

It is available on the OSHA website and can be submitted online, by mail, or by fax. Complete the entire form to ensure the review process is completed on time.

If you prefer to report unsafe working conditions anonymously, use the OSHA hotline or submit the OSHA-7 form without your name.

Some independent groups offer anonymous reporting tools to forward your complaint to OSHA.


Knowing how to report OSHA violations is key to keeping job sites safe and staff healthy.

If a worker files a complaint, OSHA would investigate the issue to ensure compliance and address any hazards.

Recognizing violations, getting facts, and adhering to the reporting process will prepare you to face hazards and promise a secure work area.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Your willingness to speak up can make a significant difference.

So, find a violation? Do not delay! Take a stand and report any OSHA missteps you spot.

At American Healthcare Compliance, reporting OSHA violations is crucial for a safer work environment.

Our OSHA courses help you maintain safety standards. If you need more information, contact us.


Q: How long does an OSHA investigation take?

The duration of an OSHA investigation can vary, but most are completed within six months. Complex cases may take longer.

Q: Can OSHA fines be appealed?

Yes, employers can appeal OSHA citations and fines. The appeal process involves a formal review and possibly a hearing.

Q: Are OSHA complaints anonymous?

Yes, OSHA complaints can be filed anonymously. Workers have the option to keep their identity confidential when submitting a complaint.

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