The number of whistleblower complaints OSHA handles has risen over the past few years. The vast majority of complaints are dismissed without merit. If an investigator finds merit to the claim, OSHA can compel the employer to reinstate the employee with backpay.
However, not all complaints are neatly dismissed or assigned merit. A good many are "settled", meaning OSHA brokers an agreement between the complainant worker and the employer. Some are "withdrawn", meaning the employee has decided not to pursue whistleblower protection. Finally, a few are "kicked out" each year, meaning the complaint doesn't follow the rules for filing complaints (by being submitted too late, for instance).
See how OSHA breaks down complaints:
Yearly totals represent national complaints aggregated from all regional OSHA offices.