The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the United States Department of Labor, was formed by the federal government to protect employees from unsafe working conditions, as well as to provide resources and training to keep workers safe from illness, injury, or death. The agency was formed as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), which set forth general safety guidelines for all industries, and specific safety guidelines for industries including construction and agriculture. The OSH Act also puts employees in control of their own health and well being by granting them certain rights when it comes to ensuring safety in the workplace.
To help OSHA protect the health of workers throughout the US, employees have the right to be informed about the safety conditions of their workplace, the right to safety training, information about OSHA standards that relate to their workplace, and tips for reducing the risk of injury on the job. Employees also have the right to access injury and illness records and be provided test results related to hazards. If any worker believes an employer is not upholding the standards of OSHA, and in turn are putting workers’ health and safety at risk, they have the right to file an OSHA complaint requesting an inspection of the facility. An OSHA complaint may also be requested by an employee after a workplace injury or illness that has gone unreported by their employer. Based on the seriousness of the safety issue brought up in the complaint, an OSHA citation officer may plan an unannounced inspection to review the job site to ensure safe working conditions. However, if the inspection does not result in a citation or the local OSHA Area Office does not feel an inspection is warranted, the employee has the right to request a record of the inspection results or documentation stating why an inspection was not performed.
Within workers’ rights to file an OSHA complaint form, employees are also protected from discrimination from their employer. It is important to note, OSHA recommends that employees address hazards and safety issues with their supervisor and employer before filing an OSHA complaint.
Avoid OSHA Complaints
The best way to avoid OSHA complaints is by first ensuring safe working conditions that follow the safety guidelines set forth by OSHA, developing safety training programs, and providing employees with the required personal protective equipment (PPE). Once the workplace is evaluated to ensure workers are protected, the next step is creating an open door policy between supervisors, management, and workers for reporting potential safety issues found on the jobsite. This will encourage employees to address issues internally rather than requesting an OSHA inspection.
Trent Cotney, P. A., Legal Experts in OSHA Defense
Have you received OSHA complaints? At Cotney Construction Law, we are experts in the procedures, policies, and inspection processes of OSHA, and have represented countless construction professionals facing fines and penalties as a result of OSHA citations. Our experience and expertise with OSHA, allows us to not only defend against citations, but provide sound legal advice to help promote workplace safety for our clients.
To schedule a consultation with an OSHA Defense Attorney from Cotney Construction Law, please call us today at 813.579.3278 or submit our contact request form.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.