All fifty states and the federal government have safety regulations codified to protect workers in many professions. Starting with the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act, workers are guaranteed rights of safety and health. Each state’s particular set of regulations are different, but California is among the strictest in the nation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, operates the different aspects of these regulations.
The level of protection varies depending on the workplace conditions. Relatively minor conditions often require the employee to file a complaint with their employer or with the OSHA office. However, more severe conditions can kick in valuable protections. Conditions that are life-threatening under the regulations allows an employee to refuse to work until these are remedied. In addition, your employer must provide you with training and information regarding safety regulations and potential risks, especially when dealing with potentially dangerous machines, chemicals, or other conditions.
In limited cases, this can even apply to tobacco use in the workplace. The employer must provide the employee with this information when requested, and must react when there is a request to fix any potential OSHA regulations. If this does not work, a direct complaint to OSHA can be a valuable lever, as can the information about past OSHA inspections.
Your rights are ironclad. If you believe that an employer has retaliated against you in order to keep you quiet for reporting safety violations, you must speak with an attorney. If the potential hazards are not remedied, you should contact both OSHA and an attorney. It is not fair to make employees work in such dangerous conditions.
When injured at work due to one of these dangers, immediate action is needed. Filing a worker’s comp claim is an important first step in order to pay for medical bills and to make sure that you have your salary covered while injured. Filing a notice of claim to let the employer know that the hazard is present is a valuable step, making sure that they are on notice and that a record exists. OSHA is always there to make sure that these regulations are complied with. An attorney can be a necessary lever to make sure that the employer lives up to their expectations and that you are protected. In addition, after an injury, a skilled attorney will be invaluable to dealing with your employer, OSHA, and the Worker’s Compensation administration.
About the Author:
Michael Ehline works at the personal injury law firm of Ehline Law. He specializes in car accidents, including workplace laws of agency, and frolic and detour. To learn more, call 213-596-9642.