Every individual has a right to work in a safe environment. It is true that there are some jobs that are just dangerous in nature, such as firefighters, construction workers and road workers, but even in those jobs, there are safety measures that can be taken.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has guidelines and safety standards in place for most known industries. They oversee businesses and industries to ensure safety standards are followed and work environments are as safe as possible. An inspector from OSHA may visit an industry or business on a regular interval for a routine check to ensure they are being compliant. They will also investigate any complaints or accidents that occur and cite a business and/or impose fines for noncompliance of safety regulations.
What if you are required to work in an unsafe environment? Talk to your employer about your concerns first. Give them an opportunity to resolve the issue. You have a right to refuse to work in the unsafe environment if the employer will not fix the dangerous condition and you have a reasonable belief, in good faith, that working in the condition would pose “an immediate and substantial risk of serious, physical injury or death.” You should also report the issue to OSHA, but in some instances, you may not have an opportunity to do so. In these cases, where you have not been given a reasonable alternative, you may refuse to work until the employer resolves the dangerous situation or an investigation determines that the environment is safe.
If imminent danger is not present, but a safety violation exists, you should report the incident to OSHA. Their regulations state than an employer may not retaliate by firing you, demoting you or making you take a reduction in pay. If that occurs, we can help. If you are retaliated against and it is confirmed by OSHA, you can be reinstated to your position and collect lost wages.
Likewise, if you are injured at your job, we can help. While workers’ compensation is required to provide medical coverage and compensation for your injuries, they can be slow in approving medical care. At Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo, we can help you appeal a denial of your claim or file a civil suit against a negligent third party responsible for your accident.