It’s the responsibility of every employer to provide a safe workplace. If you notice that the working conditions are unsafe, then you have a right to report the violation. In some cases, you even have the right to refuse to work. In case you notice unsafe working conditions, you can report the violation to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on a federal or state level.
The OSHA represents a federal statute that protects workers from unsafe and dangerous conditions in the workplace. It basically establishes certain safety standards and keeps you safe from conditions that may cause one-time injuries, illnesses, and serious injury or death. Every employer needs to find healthy and safety hazards and do everything in their power to minimize or eliminate them. In the event that the hazards can’t be eliminated, they have to provide their employees with protective gear at no cost.
They also have to notify their employees of the hazards and provide training to whoever needs it. On top of that, every employer needs to post an Occupational Safety and Health Administration notice in the workplace and keep a record of injuries and deaths.
As an employee, you have certain rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act that was introduced back in 1970 to minimize the chances of injuries and death at the workplace. Basically, you have the right to request you get as much information regarding the hazard as possible in layman’s terms as well as how to avoid it. You also have the right to request documentation on any injuries or work-related illnesses that occurred at the workplace thus far.
In case you notice that the hazard is huge and could negatively impact the lives of you and the other workers, you have the right to confidentially make a complaint with the OSHA and schedule an inspection. In fact, you’re even allowed to take part in the inspection. The employer doesn’t have a right to retaliate against you or discriminate you if you decide to make any OSHA-related complaints.
Keep in mind that just because your employer asks you to continue working even though there is a hazard at the workplace doesn’t mean that you have to do it in order to keep your job. In certain situations, you have the right to refuse dangerous work.
If you think that the safety conditions at your workplace can lead to injury or illness, then you have the right to bring that to your employer’s attention. In case your employer wants you to keep doing your job regardless but you find it too risky, then you have the right to refuse work or request that you be assigned something else.
Keep in mind that you can do this only if you really think that there is an imminent danger present and that the employer doesn’t want to or can’t eliminate the danger. Even though the hazard would certainly be eliminated following an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection, if there isn’t enough time for it to get corrected, then you should refuse to work in good faith until the conditions are safe again.
“In the event of an injury at the workplace, you shouldn’t try and work things out with the employer. It is your right to seek legal assistance and find out which steps to take next,” advise the attorneys at Blackstone Law.
For example, if you slip and fall at the workplace because of certain hazards, then all you have to do is that there were unsafe conditions at the job and that they caused your injury in order to win the case. Even if you had some fault in your own injury, you still have a good chance of getting a settlement.