During the Progressive Era of the early 1900’s, hazardous working conditions was a normal occurrence. President Theodore Roosevelt, with the help and advocacy of Frances Perkins, broadened the scope of what was considered “dangerous working conditions” and ultimately the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) evolved. Today OSHA maintains strict guidelines for health and safety, recognizing the need to support both the efforts put forth by companies and the safety and rights of employees.
Worker’s Rights According to OSHA
Workers are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. To help assure a safe and healthful workplace, OSHA provides workers with the right to:
- Ask OSHA to inspect the workplace;
- Use their rights under the law without retaliation and discrimination;
- Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be in a language you can understand;
- Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace;
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses;
What if There is Imminent Danger?
If possible bring your concerns to your employer’s attention. Document any conversation you have with them, in writing, and file a complaint with OSHA. If it is possible to stay on-site, no one should ever walk off a work site or leave a work situation simply because a complaint was filed. There must be clear and present risk of serious bodily harm or death for an employee to have “right of refusal” to work. OSHA needs sufficient time to get to a work site for inspection. If you feel there is imminent danger, contact your labor union. Taking the appropriate steps is the best way to keep both yourself and the company safe.
OSHA gladly accepts confidential complaints online.
WorkSource, a premiere Midwest staffing agency with offices in DesMoines, Fort Madison, and Kansas City, understands the serious nature for both employers and employees to stay safe on a work site. Our staff are continually up to date on the latest OSHA regulation changes and announcements. Contact the experienced team of recruiters at WorkSource today for more information.