Your right to safety in the workplace

It’s important to protect yourself from unsafe work environments. It’s required by law that you’re provided a safe workplace, so if your employer isn’t providing a safe facility, he or she can be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA can investigate the claim you make and will either fine or shut down the facility based on the findings in some cases. Other times, OSHA may work with the facility to define how safety levels can be improved.

OSHA protects workers from injuries, illnesses, and hazards in the workplace. OSHA does not protect independent contractors, however, so keep this in mind if you’re not a full employee of the company. If you’re injured and aren’t an employee, you may only have the option to sue for compensation.

As a worker who is employed by a business, you have the right to OSHA information posted on a job safety notice board and can request information on past injuries or deaths in the workplace. Your employer is obligated to provide safety training when necessary, and he or she also must make sure that your workplace is free of health and safety hazards.

If there is a hazard in your workplace that is putting you at risk, you can report the condition to OSHA immediately. You have the right to refuse to work, too, especially if there are no reasonable alternatives for working in a safer environment or ways to prevent the hazard from affecting you at work. Once the employer eliminates the danger, you’re free to return to work as long as OSHA reports that the danger has been removed.

Source: FindLaw, “Protecting Yourself from Unsafe Working Conditions,” accessed July 08, 2015