Part 1 – Letter in Response to Complaint
Dear OSHA Area Director
Thanks for your concern about the unsolicited complaint by an employee regarding weld operations in areas with poor ventilation. This complaint was seriously taken into consideration and an internal investigation has been conducted to investigate.
We have reviewed the operation and determined that there are no exposure controls. An on-site inspection does not seem necessary. All welding activities are performed within our documented safety program. This includes adequate ventilation control and a complete respiratory protection program.
We also routinely perform air monitoring and personal assessment to assess employee exposures. These assessments have shown that we can effectively limit employee exposures below OSHA allowed limits.
Dust masks aren’t the only protection available to employees. As part of our complete respiratory protection program, we also offer respirators. They are regularly inspected and tested to make sure they work well in protecting employees against harmful fumes from welding.
Safety and health of employees is a top priority for us. OSHA regulations are also important. Your attention is greatly appreciated and we are available to resolve any other concerns.
[Your Name] [Company Name]
Part 2 – Answering the Questions
- Where does this type of complaint fit on OSHA’s Priority criteria?
This type of complaint would fall under OSHA’s Priority 3 criteria, which includes situations that are not an imminent danger to employees but have the potential to cause serious harm or death. OSHA will prioritize these complaints based upon factors like the severity of the danger, number of workers exposed and potential exposure.
- How could this be non-formal instead of formal?
It is probable that the complaint was non-formal as it was brought by an individual worker and not by a collective of workers or representatives of a union. Additionally, it did not claim an immediate danger to employees or cite any OSHA standards violations.
- How can you, as an employer, identify the complainant?
We, as the employer would investigate the allegations to find out who they are. You could start by looking through your records in order to find employees that work in the subject area. Then, conduct interviews to get more details.
- Which factors might result in the complaint being reclassified to a formal one?
OSHA may reclassify the formal complaint as an urgent complaint in certain circumstances. OSHA might consider that the hazards pose an imminent threat to workers if OSHA has evidence of widespread exposure, or uncover significant violations of OSHA regulations. OSHA may also consider reclassifying the complaint formal if an employer fails to address all the issues raised by the complaint.