Employees have the right to a workplace that is reasonably free of safety and health hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency that seeks to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing workplace safety standards. Below you will find key information for your business about employee rights and employer obligations under OSHA.
Employee Rights Under OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970 created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the Department of Labor, in order to reduce workplace hazards and implement safety and health programs. OSHA gives employees many rights and responsibilities, including the right to:
Employer Obligations Under OSHA
Among the obligations imposed under OSHA, employers have a duty to:
If a hazard is not being corrected, an employee should contact an OSHA area office or state office via a written complaint. If the OSHA or state office determines that there are reasonable grounds for believing that a violation or danger exists, the office will conduct an inspection. A workers' representative has a right to accompany an OSHA compliance officer during the inspection.
The representative must be chosen by the union (if there is one) or by the employees. Under no circumstances may the employer choose the workers' representative. The inspector may conduct a comprehensive inspection of the entire workplace or a partial inspection limited to certain areas or aspects of the operation.
At the end of the inspection, the OSHA inspector will meet with the employer and the employee representatives to discuss the abatement of any hazards that may have been found.
Legal Help for Your Business with OSHA Regulations
If your business is facing an OSHA investigation, contact a skilled employment law attorney right away. An employment attorney can help you understand your employer obligations under OSHA's framework and help you decide how to proceed in defending against an employee claim.