GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. – Whistle-blower laws meant to shield workers from reporting coercive behavior aren’t protecting drivers says the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
The group met recently with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) at the U.S. Department of Labor to offer feedback on the Whistleblower Protection Program.
The program is supposed to prevent employers from retaliating against employee or contract workers for reporting or refusing work that is illegal or violates regulations such as Hours of Service limits or hazardous materials regulations.
Drivers filing complaints against employers violating the 2016 coercion regulation enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) receive little or no follow-up about their concerns, resulting in unresolved complaints.
The lack of response is also discouraging drivers from reporting new incidents, something that could affect not only the safety of truckers, but the public they have to share the road with says the OOIDA.
Director of federal affairs Jay Grimes says drivers may also be largely unaware of the whistle-blower protections provided by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act under OSHA, and instead may be more familiar with the Department of Transportation and FMCSA filing procedures.
Grimes hopes the meetings with OSHA brings the program to the attention of drivers and the people those they work with.
“We would certainly be interested in working with OSHA and other industry stakeholders to educate professional truck drivers about OSHA’s whistleblower program and the whistleblower laws it en