How do I Take Steps to Assert my Rights to a Safe Workplace?
In 1970, an organization known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. The fact of the matter is that there are many workplace injuries and fatalities happening every year and too few employees who are reporting the injustice of a hazardous workplace. To correct the problems, sometimes others must intervene. Many employees feel as if they will be retaliated against if they speak up about the injustices of their workplace. However, it is never a good idea to let it go if you suspect that your workplace is not being safe.
Why You Should Talk to Your Employer
In many cases, speaking to your employer may be the exact way to see results. Discussing the issues in the workplace can settle a lot of said issues or at least get all differences out on the table. Many situations are the result of an oversight or misunderstanding. However, you should always know your rights going into a conversation and be confident when presenting the issues at hand. You should always stick to the facts and make sure that all documentation on the workplace hazards is accurate. Once you have spoken to your employer, it is always a good idea to stay in touch about the issues at hand to see if they are actually being resolved. You should have a follow-up meeting to discuss the progress of your issues and what needs to be done.
Because of the complexities involved in unsafe workplace conditions, you should always have extremely good documentation. Always take notes of key events and conversations, gather documents like company policies and performance reviews that support your side of the story, and make sure that you have testimony from witnesses who have also seen the hazards of the workplace. In the end, it will only help your case.
Your Rights According to OSHA
OSHA commonly regulates specific areas in the workplace. Some of these include regulations on biological agents, chemical hazards and safety, construction safety, maritime safety, ergonomics, and emergency preparedness in the workplace. Here are some of the rights you are entitled to under OSHA:
- You can’t be fired, discriminated, or retaliated against for asserting your rights.
- If there is a threat to your life due to something that your employer requests, you can refuse to do the work.
- You can file a complaint regarding workplace safety concerns so that OSHA can investigate these concerns.
- You can see the results of any inspection.
How to Involve OSHA in Your Workplace
If there are hazardous working conditions in your workplace, you can choose to file a complaint with OSHA. You should always choose to first speak to your employer, but OSHA should always be called for matters that are necessary for inspection. You as the worker also have a legal right to refuse to work in a situation in which you would be exposed to a hazard. After you file a complaint, OSHA will determine whether or not it should be handled as an off-site or on-site investigation or inspection.
Are you working in dangerous conditions? Do you believe that filing a complaint is the best way for you to see results? You may be able to file a complaint or file a lawsuit if you have already become injured because of dangerous working conditions. Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today for more information about your case.