An audit via the U.S. Department of Labor has found that OSHA investigators responsible for protecting whistleblowers and examining their claims of employer retaliation are mishandling nearly one in five of their investigations. The inspector general found that 18 percent of the investigations lack one or more of seven “essential elements.” In addition, the inspector general found that 72 percent of the OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program investigations it reviewed missed deadlines imposed by federal law. OSHA management, in its response to the audit, agreed with many of the findings, and acknowledged that more improvements are needed. But the agency also noted that the number of new complaints it received climbed to 3,060 in the 2014 fiscal year, up 58 percent from 2005. OSHA blamed a lack of funding for many of the problems. This latest information actually represents a considerable improvement for the agency’s performance record. In 2010, the inspector general reported that 80 percent of OSHA’s Whistleblower investigations were inadequate.