Steps for Reporting
Some reporting of unsafe conditions at work can be handled through routine inspections, and job analysis studies. However, managers and inspectors can't see everything, and they won't always so you, as the employee, must make your opinion known of working conditions unsafe within the company. Still, as an employee you should take necessary steps to report unsafe conditions when you see them. Here is a suggested process.
1. Take immediate action. If you see an urgent hazardous condition, don't just ignore it. Take steps to warn people in the area so they can make efforts to avoid danger. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may need to personally stand nearby to make sure people do not get hurt. Although you can help mitigate some problems, such as empty boxes strewn about or extension cords crossing high traffic areas, others may require a call to another department for help. Spills, mechanical failures, collapsed structures and other situations usually require expertise to resolve, so don't make things worse by trying to fix them yourself.
2. Follow procedures. Most Human Resources departments have developed a procedure for reporting unsafe practices and conditions within the company, so be sure to consult your employee handbook and your supervisor to make sure that problems are brought to the attention of the proper individuals within the company. Most companies will probably act to resolve workplace safety issues when they become aware of them, but in case they don't there are still things that you can do.
3. Contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A federal law passed in 1970 created OSHA as an agency that deals with workplace safety issues. Under that act, employees have the right to report unsafe working conditions in their workplace or report employers who are not following OSHA procedures and standards. Reports can be made anonymously, although the law protects employees who report violations from termination and other vindication.
To report a safety problem on the job, visit the OSHA website. They have an online form for filing complaints, a mailing address for letters and a phone number. OSHA suggests major problems should be made by phone to improve their response time.