The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. Congress established the agency under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, charging OSHA to assure safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance." The agency is also charged with enforcing a variety of whistleblower statutes and regulations. OSHA’s workplace safety inspections have been shown to reduce injury rates and injury costs without adverse effects on employment, sales, credit ratings, or firm survival.
In addition to being entitled to a safe workplace, OSHA gives you the right to:
- Be trained in a language you understand;
- Work on machines that are safe and code; compliant
- Be provided required safety gear, such as gloves or a harness and lifeline for falls;
- Be protected from toxic chemicals;
- Request an OSHA inspection and speak to the inspector;
- Report an injury or illness and get copies of your medical records;
- See copies of the workplace injury and illness log;
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses; and
- Get copies of test results done for hazards in the workplace.
Employers who violate the laws and regulations overseen by OSHA face severe penalties, so they sometimes make efforts to hide violations. If you believe you are working in an unsafe or unhealthy environment, talk to your supervisor about it and make a written complaint. If nothing is done, making a complaint to OSHA might be your best option.
Filing a complaint with OSHA can potentially give rise to your employer retaliating against you for exercising your right to have a safe work environment. If your employer fires, demotes, transfers, issues a write up, or takes any adverse employment action against you after realizing you made a complaint to OSHA, you are likely a victim of retaliation for whistleblowing. Employers who retaliate against you are violating multiple employment laws and can be forced to compensate you for the mistreatment they put you through. In order to be compensated, you must file a whistleblower retaliation claim against your employer.
Employees of companies who violate OSHA regulations are encouraged to report the violations as it offers protection to all employees and furthers OSHA’s purpose. Should you find yourself being retaliated against for making such a report, please contact Potter Handy, Employment Rights Law Firm for a free case evaluation.