According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers owe a duty to their workers to provide a safe, healthy, and hazard-free working environment. The OSHA Act outlines hundreds of specifications for worksite, tool, and equipment conditions in order to keep employees out of harm’s way while in the workplace. While the list of items deemed as an employer responsibility under the OSHA Act is exhaustive, here are a few of the highlights:
- The employer must maintain a workplace that is free of hazards and that meets the standards of OSHA safety regulations.
- All employees must be provided with safe and regularly maintained tools, machinery, and equipment. They also must be properly trained to use such equipment.
- Any potential workplace hazards or risks must be labeled with posters, labels, or signs in order to warn employees of possible dangers.
- Employers are required to establish safe and healthy operating procedures for workplace tasks and to communicate those clearly to all employees.
- There must be a prominently placed OSHA poster in all workplaces. This informs workers of their rights and responsibilities as an employee and gives guidance on maintaining a safe work environment.
- Employers must report any on-site fatality to the nearest local OSHA office within 8 hours of the incident. They also must report any incident that results in three or more employees’ hospitalization.
- All employee injuries, illnesses, and conditions (that are work-related) must be recorded and kept on file. These records must be made available to employees, former employees, and their representatives when requested.
- Employers may not discriminate or take action against any employee who attempts to enforce or exercise their rights under the OSHA Act.
- When an OSHA citation is issued, it must be posted prominently in or near the work area that was cited. This must remain visible for three days or until the damage has been amended.
- Employees must receive medical examinations and medical training when required by OSHA regulations.
- Employers must give employees and their representatives access to medical records and exposure records when necessary.
- All OSHA citations must be corrected, along with any required paperwork, by the specified deadline.
- OSHA compliance officers must be provided with a list of authorized employees who may accompany them on worksite visits and inspections.
These employer responsibility regulations are enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, a branch of the United States Department of Labor. Any employee who believes that their employer is violating these standards may file a complaint with OSHA online or by contacting their local OSHA office. When an official complaint is filed, an OSHA representative will investigate and perform a worksite inspection. If a violation is found, the employer may be issued citation and ordered to correct it by a set deadline.
When reporting an OSHA violation, employees should not fear for their livelihood. One of the many employer responsibility regulations is that a worker may not be discriminated against when enforcing their rights as an employee. Workers may also request that their name not be revealed when reporting a violation. This protects employees from being fired, demoted, transferred, or otherwise punished for reporting unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.
If you believe your workplace has failed to comply by an employer responsibility outlined above, or you were injured in the workplace due to an OSHA violation, file a complaint with OSHA and contact a legal professional to find out what rights you have. You may have grounds for a personal injury claim against your employer. Call (210) 934-6609 to speak to a San Antonio workplace injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Pat Maloney today.