OSHA offers whistleblowers alternative dispute resolution option

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (in the U.S. Department of Labor) will begin offering whistleblowers in some states the option of alternative dispute resolution through a new pilot program.

The program will offer two voluntary methods of alternative dispute resolution: early resolution and mediation. When a whistle-blower complaint is filed with OSHA in one of the pilot regions, the parties will be notified of their alternative dispute resolution options and may work through an OSHA regional alternative dispute resolution coordinator to use these methods, the DOL said in its statement.

For now, the program is available only through the Chicago and San Francisco regional offices.

The program, which became effective on October 1, is authorized by OSHA Directive 12-01. As described in the directive, OSHA will implement the ADR program “for all complaints filed under the whistleblower provisions” of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), 29 U.S.C. §660(c) and the following:

[The] Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), 49 U.S.C. §31105; Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), 15 U.S.C. §2651; International Safe Container Act (ISCA), 46 App U.S.C. §1506; Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), 42 U.S.C. §300j-9(i); Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), 33 U.S.C. §1367; Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), 15 U.S.C. §2622; Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA), 42 U.S.C. §6971; Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. §7622; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §9610; Energy Reorganization Act (ERA), 42 U.S.C. §5851; Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21), 49 U.S.C. §42121; The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), 18 U.S.C. §1514A; Pipeline Safety Improvement Act (PSIA), 49 U.S.C. §60129; Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), 49 U.S.C. §20109; National Transit Systems Security Act (NTSSA), 6 U.S.C. §1142; Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), 15 U.S.C. §2087; Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), P.L. 111-148; Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA), Section 1057 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, P.L. 111-203; Seaman’s Protection Act, 46 U.S.C. §2114 (SPA), as amended by Section 611 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, P.L. 111-281; Section 402 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), P.L. 111-353; and Section 31307 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, 49 U.S.C. §30171.