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Reporting Unsafe Work Conditions

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Workers’ compensation is there to provide for employees who are injured on the job. But what happens when you see an unsafe situation in your work environment and want to take action before or you any of your coworkers get hurt? Many times an employee will become aware of a work hazard and be uncertain as to what steps they should take, especially if they fear repercussions from their boss. The truth is that every employee is entitled to a workplace that is free of safety conditions that could jeopardize their health, and they have a right to report problems to their employer and/or the proper authorities. They even have the right to refuse to work if they feel that they are in immediate jeopardy. Here is some helpful information on reporting unsafe work conditions. If you are uncertain about your rights or feel that you are being punished for taking action, contact the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law for assistance.

The federal agency that is responsible for ensuring that work environments in the United States are safe is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Their mission is to make sure that employers provide a work environment that is safe and that won’t cause injury, illness or death. There are many safety standards that the agency has established to accomplish this goal, and their rules extend to the actions that employees can take on their own behalf. If you believe that conditions in your workplace present an immediate danger, you have the right to report the problem directly to OSHA. This applies to situations where you think that somebody is going to imminently be killed or suffer serious injury and your boss will not take action to address the problem. If you do not have time to report the problem to OSHA and you have no other reasonable options, you have the right not to go to work under the existing conditions, and not face repercussions.  Where the danger that is present is not imminent, the expectation is that the employee first addresses the situation with their employer in writing. Only after the employer fails to take action should the situation be escalated to OSHA or the state occupational safety agency.

It is important for you to realize that in taking action to notify your employer or OSHA about a significant safety issue, you are protected against retaliation, including being fired or demoted, a pay cut, or any other form of negative action. If you feel that you have been a victim of retaliation, you can seek reinstatement of your previous pay level or job, and also receive compensation for any wages that you have lost in the interim.

The primary interest of your employer is to make money, but they need to do so in a way that ensures that all of those that work for them are safe and healthy. If you are having a problem in the workplace or have already suffered an injury, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Vanasse Law today for immediate, knowledgeable legal representation.