What You Need to Know about OSHA

OSHA, which stands for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, is responsible for overseeing safety and health in the workplace. The organization has a number of rules and regulations focused on creating and maintaining a safe work environment. The agency is concerned about both the physical and emotional well-being of our US employees.

As an employee, you benefit from OSHA’s safety regulations, but plenty of people aren’t quite sure what rights and benefits they’re provided under these regulations.

According to OSHA, employers are required to post information about OSHA guidelines in the workplace, and chances are you’ve seen these posters located in your company’s breakroom or other shared space, but if you’re like most, you haven’t bothered reading them that closely. You should – it’s a good idea to review this information and get an idea for how OSHA can help you.

Understanding OSHA rules can help you if you get into a difficult situation or if you find yourself the victim of an inappropriate work situation.

Employee Rights under OSHA

OSHA was established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. It requires employers to create a work environment free of known dangers, including workplace violence. Under OSHA, workplace violence covers assault and other acts of physical violence, as well as threatening or intimidating language, harassment, and disruptive behavior.

According to OSHA, employees have a right to:

• Receiving training in a language they understand
• Conduct their work on safe machinery
• Have access to proper safety gear
• Receive protection from toxic chemicals
• Request an OSHA inspection with an opportunity to speak to the inspector
• Report any injury or illness, and receive copies of medical records
• Receive copies of workplace injury and illness logs
• Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
• See results of any tests conducted to identify hazards in the workplace

For more information about employee rights under OSHA, visit the United States Department of Labor. The site also features data on illness and injury in the workplace, common citations among employers, and a collection of resources available to help you.

OSHA and Workplace Violence

By law, employers must take threats and verbal abuse seriously, and report them to the authorities. If they fail to do so and a situation escalates to include physical violence they are responsible. Furthermore, employers are encouraged to have a violence prevention program in place and provide training in an effort to control the threat of violence.

According to OSHA’s own policy, workplace intimidation and violence includes any action that might frighten, alarm, or inhibit employees.

If you believe your employer is in violation of OSHA regulations, you have a right to take action. You can go directly to the OSHA website and file a safety and health complaint online. And if you believe any action you’ve taken to address an issue in the workplace has resulted in retaliation, you can also file a whistleblower complaint with the agency.

OSHA and other agencies are in place to ensure your rights in the workplace are protected. These organizations have guidelines in place that are meant to help employers create a safe, professional work environment, but unfortunately, these guidelines are often ignored.

If you believe your employer is in violation of OSHA regulations or you’re dealing with another situation in the workplace you believe is unsafe, we’ll ensure your rights are protected as you address the issue. Contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. for more information.

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