The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the governmental agency which administers the Occupational Safety and Health Act which protects laborers from job related hazards. Most businesses are required to adhere to the Occupational Safety and Health Act laws. Some businesses that are exempt from this law are familyowned farms and selfemployed individuals. Also industries that are covered by other federal laws, such as airlines and nuclearenergy plants are exempt from OSHA laws. An OSHA compliance officer can inspect a work area if he has a warrant or the employer granted the officer permission. If the officer believes there is a violation of the OSHA laws, the employer will be given a citation stating what the violation and monetary penalty is. The Department of Labor then decides whether to impose the penalty. If you believe your workplace is not safe, you can file a complaint with the state OSHA office. Your employer cannot fire you for filing the complaint. If your employer seems to be discriminating against you because of the complaint you filed, you can file a complaint claiming discrimination. You can only do so, however, within thirty days after you discovered your employer was discriminating against you because you filed a complaint against the employer. An employer can challenge a citation. An administrative judge usually hears the challenge. The Occupational Safety and Health Review Committee can review the judge`s decision, if one of its members deems it necessary. Whether the citation is uphold, modified or overturn is based on the judge`s original decision or the committee`s review.
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