Tag Archive for: workers rights and protections

OSHA – Workers’ Rights and Protections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 to provide workers with the right to a healthy and safe work environment. This means that either all hazards are removed or, if they cannot be removed, workers are given the necessary safeguards and training to protect them from harm. 

OSHA covers most private-sector employers in the United States. Exclusions from OSHA include federal and state governments, churches, and self-employed individuals. Unless an employer is sure they are exempt from OSHA regulations, the assumption is that all standards apply. 

Penalties for OSHA violations can be harsh. If an employer violates OSHA regulations, they can be subject to fines and even face imprisonment. And failing to adhere to OSHA regulations can be strong evidence of negligence in a personal injury case after an accident. 

OSHA – Workers’ Rights and Protections

If you are a worker in just about any industry, OSHA gives you the right to a safe and healthy work environment. Here are some of the specifics of workers’ rights and protections under OSHA. 

1. The Right to a Safe and Healthy Workplace

First and foremost, OSHA gives every employee the right to a healthy and safe workplace. Various OSHA regulations apply to different industries (construction, healthcare, maritime, agriculture, etc.) to achieve this goal. Examples of some standards include those for respiratory protection, fall protection, and access to personal protective equipment (PPE). 

2. The Right to Workplace Safety Training

According to OSHA, every employee has the right to receive workplace training regarding the presence of dangerous chemicals present in the workplace and their potential adverse effects. Employees should learn what they can and should do to keep themselves safe and what to do in the event of exposure or an accident. 

3. The Right to Obtain Information from Your Employer

If you have questions about what regulations and standards OSHA has, you have the right to approach your employer and ask for this information. As a worker, you also have the right to request information specific to your place of work, such as a review of the Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and any relevant medical or exposure records that don’t violate someone else’s right to privacy. 

4. The Right to Request That Your Employer Take Action

If you have a workplace safety or health concern that relates to some type of hazard, you have the right to request that your employer take action to address the problem. This is the case even if the issue doesn’t constitute a specific OSHA violation. 

5. The Right to File a Complaint

If you believe there are safety or health hazards in your workplace or suspect that your employer is in violation of OSHA regulations, you have the right to file an OSHA complaint. You can also request that your complaint be confidential. Workers can file OSHA complaints via phone, mail, telephone, fax, online, or in person. 

6. The Right to Participate in Inspections and Learn the Results

Employees have the right to have a representative in attendance during an OSHA inspection. During this inspection, either the employee or their representative can voice their concerns to the OSHA inspector. During this inspection, the employee should provide as much documentation of their concerns as possible. 

7. The Right to Take Part in Meetings

Your employer may object to deadlines established by OSHA or citations they’ve been required to pay. If there are meetings discussing these issues, you have a right to attend these meetings. 

8. The Right to Appeal Decisions

If you do not agree with OSHA’s established deadlines for your employer to address various workplace hazards, you have the right to file an appeal. 

9. The Right to File a Whistleblower Complaint

Many employees fear retaliation from their employers if they report concerns. According to OSHA, workers are protected from retaliation, which may include firing or any form of workplace discrimination, due to reporting safety hazards or violations to OSHA. 

10. The Right to Request a Research Investigation

You have the right to make a request through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for a research investigation if you have concerns about toxic substances in your workplace. 

Learn More About Workers’ Rights and Protections

OSHA’s standards were created to protect workers’ safety and health, not to increase the burden for employers. Without these protections, the level of work-related accidents, injuries, and deaths would be even higher than those currently experienced. 

Most U.S. employers are subject to OSHA standards, meaning employees have the right to expect the rights and protections outlined above. If you’ve been injured at work and would like more information about workers’ rights and protections, OSHA Injury Attorney can help.