The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was implemented to protect workers. If you consider how work conditions have changed over the years, you have to give some credit to OSHA for encouraging the development of safe and healthy work environments, despite the occasional inconvenience. OSHA violations in the workplace can lead to serious, even dangerous, situations.
A Bit of History
Before the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 work conditions under which employees suffered bodily injury and even death was more commonplace. Workplace safety was not that much of a priority. In the early 20th century, America moved from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. With that came machines that were not always safe. Some jobs were very hazardous, and the industry boom was more concerned about output than safety. Still, from the onset of industrialization, there were efforts made toward making workplaces safer.
When workplace safety issues began to have an effect on the employer’s bottom line, after workers’ compensation was instituted, more employers began to search out ways to make safer environments. Eventually, OSHA was created to help make workplaces safer and healthier.
Knowing the Standards for Your Workplace
Workplaces need to provide environments free from known serious hazards. The OSH Act has certain standards, regulations and rules set forth. These must be adhered to in order to comply with OSHA guidelines.
Equipment needs to be in good repair and safe to use. There are certain regulations regarding the workspace itself which need to be in compliance also. Inspections by OSHA reveal problem areas which need to be brought into compliance.
Filing a Complaint With OSHA
As an employee, you have a right to a safe and healthy working environment. When this is not the case, you can contact OSHA for help. Your information is kept confidential by OSHA when you file a complaint. If you suspect a violation, you must report it as soon as possible. Violation citations can only be issued for non-compliance issues that are current or have existed within the last six months.
You may not know for certain if an OSHA standard has been violated or not. This is not an issue. You can still file a complaint, and your request will be addressed by OSHA. There are several ways to submit your complaint. You can fill out an online form, which will be forwarded to the appropriate state plan. You can also download a complaint form and mail it or fax it to your local OSHA office. You may also call in your complaint and speak with an OSHA staffer.
To ensure an onsite inspection, send in a written, signed complaint. When such a complaint is submitted to the local OSHA office by either a worker or a worker’s representative, an inspection is more likely to occur. Remember, you have rights as a worker, and you have help available if your rights to a healthy and safe work environment are in jeopardy.
Unsafe or hazardous work conditions can lead to injury or death. Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., attorneys specialize in personal injury law. If you or a loved one have sustained an injury at the workplace, why not contact us for a free, confidential consultation. We are the attorneys who care. We proudly serve residents of the southwest Florida area, including those living in Englewood, Port Charlotte, and North Port. Contact us for more information.