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July 26, 2017

Understanding Your Workplace Rights Regarding Health & Safety

health and safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guarantees workers certain rights. It’s important to review and become familiar with the OSHA Workers’ Rights afforded to all workers in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Through enforcing this act, OSHA assists states in providing safe working conditions as well as providing research, information, education, and training for occupational safety and health. Some of the most important rights guaranteed by law include:

Employer Responsibilities OSHA has requirements for employers, including prevention training programs and the responsibility to provide workers with the proper personal protective equipment. Employers must also provide periodic health screening and monitoring for employees who work in hazardous areas including maintaining detailed records of employee’s health and covering the costs of tests to monitors. Here are some additional OSHA-mandated rules that employers must abide by:

Unsafe Working Conditions One key statute of the Occupational Safety and Health Act is a worker’s right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions. A workplace may be deemed unsafe for numerous reasons. One such reason may be that fire prevention systems and emergency response plans have not been put in place, or that an organization lacks measures for preventing overexertion. Perhaps not enough personal protective equipment is provided or the protective equipment provided — including hard hats, goggles, ear protectors, aprons, gloves, and boots — is not in good working condition.

While there are legal requirements surrounding health and safety for all businesses, workers should be aware of their own rights within the workplace. If employees are fully aware of proper workplace conditions and their right to work without fear of injury or illness, as well as their right to hold their employer accountable, they are better equipped to protect themselves and their colleagues.

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