What responsibilities do employers have to employees?

Employers have the responsibility to make sure you stay safe at work. The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires these steps of employers, and if they don’t keep the workplace a safe, hazard-free, and inclusive facility, then they can be fined in many cases.

Your employer should offer job accommodations for employees who struggle with disabilities, either temporary or long-term. This also includes pregnant women. For example, if a pregnant woman struggles to stand all day at an office job, she should be offered more breaks or given a chair where she can rest occasionally.

The Department of Labor oversees the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which makes sure your job is safe. If you don’t feel safe and want to file a complaint or claim with OSHA, you can file a complaint online or over the telephone, in person or by mail. You can only make a complaint about an emergency or serious hazard to OSHA in person; all other requests should be made through one of the other options.

OSHA will come to a workplace to investigate a report of hazards. For example, if you claim machines at your facility don’t have guards on them (this puts you at a risk of amputation or lacerations), then OSHA may come to investigate. You don’t have to worry about being pointed out as the person who made the report; OSHA can do the investigation without mentioning who reported the company. Even if your employer finds out, you can’t be fired or retaliated against for filing the complaint. If you are, your attorney can help you build a case against your employer.

Source: Take On Step, “Rights and responsibilities — Employers,” accessed Jan. 14, 2016