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What do I do if my working conditions are unsafe?

We frequently write about how important it is for American workplaces to be as safe as is reasonably possible. Federal and state laws govern working conditions for one critically important reason: Without access to safe working conditions, American workers tend to suffer injury, illness and even death as a result of unsafe conditions.

Because it is so important for workplaces to be safe, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspects the conditions of as many work sites as it can on an annual basis. However, OSHA cannot inspect every work site regularly. In addition, some employers maintain unsafe working conditions despite the fact that they are legally obligated to follow a host of regulations related to safe working conditions.

If you are injured or are taken ill as a result of unsafe working conditions, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits or you may be able to hold your employer accountable for the harm you have suffered via a personal injury lawsuit. However, it is best to avoid injury altogether by acting to ensure that you working conditions are safe.

If your employer is receptive, you may be able to solve your unsafe working conditions simply by reporting them and allowing your employer to fix the issue at hand. However, if your employer does not fix the issue, you may file a complaint with OSHA and speak with an attorney about your legal options. The Occupational Safety and Health Act protects you from discrimination based on certain actions you may take if you are dealing with working conditions that place you in a situation where you face imminent danger.

Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “Can I Refuse to Work in Unsafe Conditions?” Le Trinh, May 26, 2015

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