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Filed complaint with OSHA Arizona

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  • Filed complaint with OSHA Arizona

    I am a mechanic working for a large public transit operation in Arizona. I work in a potentally dangerous shop and witnessed several unsafe operations(including and outside our shop) happen on a daily basis , and notified my supervisors several times about the conditons. We have recently (within the past year) had 3 lost time accidents. I filled out 12 safety recommendation reports and turned them in the correct box, only to watch them go unnoticed for 3 weeks. I finally had a chance to speak to our regional safety director, and showed him my reports sitting in the box. They sat for 2 more weeks till we had a new shop foreman take over and he asked me to give them to him(which I thought was about time), and I did. Some items where corrected, some where not.

    Few weeks had gone by and I had come to work sick. I have sick time and asked my direct supervisor at the time if I could go home(I felt faint, dizzy, and had an upset stomach), which he allowed. The next day I was called in to the foremans office to see him. I was notified that I was on a 3 day supension, for leaving work early. I told him that it was unsafe for me to have stayed and worked on the equipment I maintain, and made a note to that on the paperwork telling me I was suspended.

    I had gone home and looked up and found OSHA's web page and made a report complaining of unsafe work conditions, and discrimination. Two days ago I got a call from the local office asking me to elaborate on my complaint and how to find what I was talking about, and asked my situation. They inspected my shop yesterday, and today I came in to work to find out I'm suspended with out pay again pending investigation.

    I had also contacted several state and federal authorities who oversee my line of work and they have been doing a thorough investigation of my employer for the past two weeks. I had tried to go thru the proper chain of command previously, and had seen zero results, and felt it was my duty to stand up, and say something.

    I am barely scratching the surface here.

    Tomorrow I have a meeting(to find out if I have a job or not, I think). What should I do, what should I say? What are my options? I apologize for the length of this, and for being in the incorrect forum, and thank you for your time.

    Regards
    Last edited by RNC; 03-22-2007, 08:49 PM.

  • #2
    If you were fired or suspended for reporting an OSHA safety violation, contact OSHA. Your employer is not permitted to retaliate against you for this.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

    Comment


    • #3
      I had last nights suspension retracted, and I am being paid for it. I spoke with our new general manager today, and also heard from corporate offices for north america also today. Should I retain services of an attorney, I still feel like a nail sticking to far up. I was told by state authorities that the industry that I work in, is exempt from federal laws, regarding reporting unsafe activities. They told me to go to a news organization.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RNC View Post
        I had last nights suspension retracted, and I am being paid for it. I spoke with our new general manager today, and also heard from corporate offices for north america also today. Should I retain services of an attorney, I still feel like a nail sticking to far up. I was told by state authorities that the industry that I work in, is exempt from federal laws, regarding reporting unsafe activities. They told me to go to a news organization.
        Remember if you go to the media, without concrete proof, they can sue you for slander, and the cost of lost business. Please consult with an attorney, before you get in over your head, you seem like a nice person, and I would not want you to get into legal trouble.

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        • #5
          I have plenty of documentation, and access to former supervisors and employees. I've been making copies for months. I have internal memo's, corporate recognized incorrect pmi sheets, mechanic inspection reports showing same defects. Operator reporting for unsafe equipment for months with out repair. Parts order book with the same parts being ordered. I have plenty of proof. I have no intention of going on TV, although, I have been in contact with a reporter.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RNC View Post
            I have plenty of documentation, and access to former supervisors and employees. I've been making copies for months. I have internal memo's, corporate recognized incorrect pmi sheets, mechanic inspection reports showing same defects. Operator reporting for unsafe equipment for months with out repair. Parts order book with the same parts being ordered. I have plenty of proof. I have no intention of going on TV, although, I have been in contact with a reporter.
            Sorry, I was talking about the paper, wrong wording. If your documents can't be proven wrong, go for it, I just know, as you do, that big corporations, and businesses, have lawyers that allready work for them, and I didn't want them to go after you. I wish you the best of luck!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RNC View Post
              I was told by state authorities that the industry that I work in, is exempt from federal laws, regarding reporting unsafe activities.
              Tell me, what industry are you in, and what state agency told you that?

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              • #8
                I work in public transit, buses.

                Here is the message I received from azdps when asking about descrimination for reporting unsafe activities:

                Since city buses are exempt from the federal regulations, I would suggest the local police agency or possibly a news channel.

                That was from state authorities. I highly doubt Txxxe city police would do much, since it's their employer that knows about this also. I have no trust there.

                I am finally witnessing results at work after a year of saying something.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Since it is public transit and involves busses, I would think that to be a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, which is VERY MUCH federally regulated. If you are talking about violations on the transportation end, that that would fall under the jurisdiction of the DOT.

                  If you are talking about general work conditions, then that would fall under OSHA.

                  I am not aware of ANY federal regulation that specifically exempts public transit. Maybe I've slept....any others???

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thats what the state police sent me, If you would like i can pm you the email. They were very much interested in my info on the unsafe coaches. they spent several days looking through records. they where not the only authority involved. I had also contacted the FTA(federal transit authority). I believe thats who's organizing the fleet inspection, but I dont know, I'm just a low man on a totem pole with alot of documented information.
                    Last edited by RNC; 03-26-2007, 07:55 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      City busses are NOT exempt from federal regulations. However, this would fall under the federal DOT enforcement, not the state. See here for details. There are some aspects of various regulations that are the domain of local government and certain regulations that public transit is exempt from, but not all. http://transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov/.../PDF/Task2.pdf
                      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thank you for all your input and knowledge. I was wondering if I could be in trouble for notifing the authorities specifically FTA, and DOT. Thats what the email was concerning. OSHA protects "whistleblowers", from what I've read. But AZ DPS(state police) does not.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't think it would be a criminal issue where the police could get involved. It's more likely a civil issue.
                          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                          • #14
                            The local police aren't going to have anything to do with it. They aren't authorized, nor are they responsible for enforcing federal transportation guidelines and whistleblower statutes.
                            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                            Comment

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