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Legal protections for employees in unsafe workplaces

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2015 | Firm News |

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created as the result of a 1970 legislative act. The so-called OSH Act compels employers to provide safe work environments for employees. Philadelphia County employers who ignore these rules may be subject to fines for workplace safety violations.

Some workers may not realize unsafe on-the-job conditions can be reported directly to OSHA, which operates five federal offices in Pennsylvania. The closest office to Pottstown is in Philadelphia. Employees have the right to report issues like health or safety hazard violations without fear of employer discrimination or retaliation.

Employees also have the right to request an OSHA inspection of an unsafe environment. The worker may participate actively in the work inspection, speak with federal inspectors and attend sessions between OSHA representatives and company officials.

Employees also have the right to know about hazards in places where they work. Employers are expected to make this information accessible to employees and provide safety training. Workers may ask to see company hazard reports, inspection results and medical files related to on-the-job injuries and illnesses.

OSHA creates guidelines for workplace safety. Some are specific to certain industries like agriculture and construction. Federal safety standards also have been set for general industry.

OSHA may require certain employer practices to safeguard employees who work in confined areas, with large machines or at certain elevations. For instance, government regulators may impose air quality standards requiring monitoring equipment, added ventilation and respirators or other safeguards to protect employees.

In short, companies have an obligation to minimize dangers and keep workplaces clear of serious hazards.

Employees injured while on the job generally may not take an employer to court to recover damages. Instead, employers provide Workers’ Compensation insurance to pay injury-related medical costs and wage losses. Attorneys at Wolf Baldwin & Associates help injured workers recover compensation from every conceivable source.