How do I file a complaint against my employer for exposing me to a safety and/or health hazard?
If you believe you are exposed to a safety or health hazard, you can contact the Division of Labor Safety Section to request an inspection of your workplace. They will send you a request form for you to complete and return that outlines your concerns and contact information for your worksite. It also requires your signature.
Why do I have to sign the complaint form? I don’t want my employer to know that I filed the complaint.
§21-3A-8 of the West Virginia Code requires the request to be reduced to writing and signed by the employee. It also provides, however, for the anonymity of the employee if you so request it.
What happens after I make the request for an inspection?
The Commissioner of Labor or his designee will determine if there are reasonable grounds to make an inspection. Unless the alleged hazard is a potential imminent danger, the Commissioner usually sends a letter to the employee’s agency outlining the complaint and methods of correction. Normally, an agency is given 30 days to satisfactorily respond. Some hazards, however, require immediate attention and will be assigned to an inspector to make an onsite inspection.
Does this Act extend to all public employees?
No, the Department of Health and Corrections and the Legislature are specifically exempt from coverage. The Act allows for counties, county boards of education, and municipalities to elect coverage.
What rules or standards are followed in making inspections?
The Act requires the adoption of the federal standards used by the Occupational Safety Administration (OSHA). Essentially, every standard that applies in the private sector will apply to those agencies covered by the Act.