As an employee, you have a right to a safe workplace. Since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, employers are required to take specific measures to ensure that the workplace is free of known dangers in order to protect their employees. OSHA provides employees with the following rights: Workers can The post OSHA Workplace Violations: Know Your Rights appeared first on Agnew & Rosenberger Virginia Law Firm.
As an employee, you have a right to a safe workplace. Since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, employers are required to take specific measures to ensure that the workplace is free of known dangers in order to protect their employees.
OSHA provides employees with the following rights:
- Workers can request for OSHA to inspect their workplace if they feel it may have hazardous conditions
- Workers are protected from discrimination and retaliation from an employer after filing a complaint
- Workers can access copies of any test results from workplace inspections
- Workers can review records of work-related accidents, injuries, and illnesses
OSHA's Most Frequently Cited Violations
If you are concerned that your workplace contains unsafe conditions, you have the right to report it to OSHA at any time and request an inspection. Some of the most common workplace safety violations cited by OSHA include:
- Inadequate hazard communication
- Inadequate respiratory protection
- Faulty electrical design or wiring
- Faulty or absent machine safety guards
- Broken or malfunctioning equipment
- Lack of scaffolding or fall protection (for construction sites)
One example of a major OSHA violation in recent news occurred this past month in Texas, where three construction firms were ordered to pay over $800,000 in fines for over two dozen serious safety violations. Hassell Construction Company was fined $423,000 for 16 “egregious willfull” violations that were discovered after a trench collapse accident that buried one of their employees. In another incident, a temporary worker from the construction company Cotton Commercial was denied access to a safety harness and later fell 12 feet from a roof, suffering a broken arm and severe bruising. Their citations resulted in a fine of $362,500, and the agency that sent the worker to that site was penalized nearly $5,000 as well. Because they did not carry workers' compensation insurance, the future of the injured worker is uncertain.
OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program
OSHA has a program in place to protect the rights of workers who act as whistleblowers. There are twenty-two federal statutes in place to ensure that employees are discriminated against, harassed, or fired by their employers for exercising their rights. Whistleblowers have the right to file an OSHA complaint, participating in an inspection or speaking to an inspector, reporting an injury, seeking access to employer exposure and injury records, and more. If workers do experience discrimination, they can file a complaint through OSHA within 30 days.
If you have been injured at work due to an OSHA violation, our firm may be able to help you collect compensation for your injuries. In order to increase your chances of receiving the maximum amount of benefits to which you are entitled, contact a Virginia workers' compensation lawyer from Agnew & Rosenberger, PLLC as soon as possible.