Every employee has the right to a safe and healthy workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is a US labor law that ensures each employee has such rights. This labor law was passed to encourage safer work conditions in most private sector workplaces for employers and employees in the US. When the Occupational Safety and Health Act was created and passed, Congress created the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, in order to assure safe and healthy working conditions for employees. OSHA requires employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace that is in compliance with OSHA standards, giving employees the right to the following.
Employees have the right to receive training from their employer as it is required by OSHA standards. Training includes the right to know about work hazards you are, or may be, exposed to during your working tasks. You have the right to information about possible hazards and how to protect yourself from potential injury. You have a right to get training from your employer on various health and safety hazards and standards that your employer must follow. Topics include lockout-tagout, bloodborne pathogens, confined spaces, construction hazards and more.
As an employee you have the right to request information from your employer about OSHA standards, worker injuries and illnesses, job hazards and workers’ rights. You have the right to request information from your employer and how such information may pertain to you. As with the right to request information, you have the right to request copies of rules, regulations and requirements and to review relevant exposure and medical records.
You can request action from your employer to correct hazards or violations. Violations do not have to be specific to OSHA standards in order for you to be able to ask your employer to correct them. If you make a request to your employer to correct hazards, be sure to keep a copy of those requests.
Employees have the right to file a complaint with OSHA if they believe that there are violations occurring. Either violations of OSHA standards or serious workplace hazards can be reported to OSHA with a request to conduct an inspection. Complaints can be filed online, in writing, by telephone or fax. Your name can be kept confidential if requested in your complaint.
You have the right to be involved in OSHA’s inspection of your workplace. Each employee has the right to speak privately and confidentially to the OSHA compliance officer conducting the inspection of your workplace regardless of the presence of a workers’ representative. As with the right to be involved in OSHA;s inspections, each employee has a right to be informed of the results of an OSHA inspection.
After any inspections have been conducted, as an employee you have the right to get involved in any meetings to discuss objections your employer may have to OSHA’s citations. You may also file a formal appeal of the deadlines OSHA has set for your employer to make a correction to hazards if you feel the time slot is too long.
If you are ever punished or discriminated against for exercising your rights as an employee to health and safety you may file a discrimination complaint to OSHA within 30 days of the act or discrimination.
At Onsite Safety, we want to ensure that you have knowledge of your rights as an employee and how to access or act upon those rights. Learn all the OSHA information you need in order to understand your rights with Onsite’s live OSHA 10-Hour course. If you’d like more information on your rights as an employee visit OSHA online.
Know your rights as an employee and stay safe and healthy!