Unsafe work conditions should not be tolerated.
However, many employees do not feel safe reporting conditions that are unsafe or requesting an investigation from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration because they fear retaliation by employers.
The Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970 makes sure that employees who request an inspection or file a complaint against an employer are protected. Hazardous conditions that go unreported are just accidents waiting to happen. Where there is one violation there will probably be more, and employees should not be subjected to unsafe conditions when they go to work everyday. This puts both employees at risk of serious injury.
OSHA will do inspections of conditions that are reported to be hazardous or do not meet OSHA standards. The Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970 affords employees the right to request that their names not be revealed if they prefer to file a complaint without it being made known to their employers.
OSHA will keep the request confidential and also encourages employees to report discriminatory acts by employers. If an employee feels that they have been demoted, fired, discriminated against, or fired, and feel like these actions has violated the rights you are afforded under the law, you can file a complaint with OSHA for this as well. However, it is necessary for you to act quickly. You generally must file a complaint within 30 days of the discrimination.
If you would like to file a complaint of regarding workplace conditions, contact OSHA via their website or by telephone. There are several different options for downloading and completing the forms to be returned. Emergency situations that present immediate hazards should be reported as soon as possible to OSHA by telephone.
Reporting a violation or hazard to a supervisor should be the first step, unless there is a reason why an employee feels uncomfortable doing so. If it is possible to resolve a complaint without involving OSHA this is ideal. Opening a dialogue with supervisors and alerting them to hazardous conditions may be sufficient. If it is not, contacting OSHA should be the next step.
When contacting OSHA, you should provide as much information about the working conditions that present a health risk as possible. Try to include information like the number of employees who are exposed to the hazard, what the hazard consists of, any training or lack thereof given to employees, any chemicals or materials that are used, the type of work that is performed, any accidents that have occurred, length of time that the condition has existed, etc. It is not necessary that you include all of this information, but provide as much detail as you can.
Missouri Workers’ Compensation
If you have been injured at work, if your claim has been denied, or if you feel you have retaliated against, you should also contact a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options in depth. Violating workers’ rights by expecting them to work in conditions that are hazardous or unsafe is not acceptable. Workers’ compensation attorneys will fight to protect your rights, make sure that you get the medical benefits and compensation that you are entitled to in the event of a workplace injury, and to hold employers responsible for the work environments they maintain.
To speak with a St. Louis workers comp lawyer, call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300. We can evaluate your case for free and help you to determine the best way to receive justice.
photo credit: spatulated