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Do you have the safety equipment you need at work?

There are a lot of dangerous jobs out there. A requirement for employers to better protect workers is to provide "personal protective equipment" (PPE) when necessary.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited an agriculture company in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, for, among several other serious violations, failing to provide PPE to employees. The citation noted that workers were exposed to uncovered floor holes and unsecured compressed gas cylinders.

Do You Know Your Rights?

If you work in a hazardous environment, your employer is required to provide PPE at no cost to you. Depending on the hazard, this equipment can include:

  • Gloves
  • Goggles, facemasks or other safety glasses
  • Special footwear
  • Earplugs and/or earmuffs
  • Hard hats
  • Respirators
  • Coveralls, vests or full-body suits

OSHA provides extensive guidelines on how to choose the proper equipment depending on the hazard. Some common workplace hazards that can be mitigated with PPE include exposure to hazardous chemicals, loud noises, bright lights or toxic dust. It is your employer's duty to abide by these regulations.

And your employer's obligations don't end when they provide you with the equipment. They must provide proper education and training on when you must wear the equipment, how to safely put it on and take it off, its limitations, and how to properly care for the equipment and when you should dispose of it.

If you are being exposed to hazardous chemicals or other safety risks and don't have the proper PPE, you can talk to an attorney. Your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for raising workplace safety concerns.

Additionally, you should talk to an independent, experienced workers' compensation attorney if you are hurt on the job. A lawyer can help you seek proper medical care and thoroughly document your injuries to give you the best chance at recovering workers' compensation benefits if you have to miss work.

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