According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards. If you have concerns, you have the right to speak up about them without fear of retaliation. You also have the right to:
- Be trained in a language you understand
- Work on machines that are safe
- Be provided required safety gear, such as gloves or a harness and lifeline for falls
- Be protected from toxic chemicals
- Request an OSHA inspection, and speak to the inspector
- Report an injury or illness, and get copies of your medical records
- See copies of the workplace injury and illness log
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
- Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace
OSHA has requirements for employers, including prevention training programs and the responsibility to provide workers with the proper personal protective equipment. Employers also must maintain detailed records of employee’s health and covering the costs of tests to monitors. Other rules for employees include informing employees of any hazards and providing adequate training for these hazards, keeping accurate records of any work-related injuries or illnesses and providing any health/hearing tests.
One key statute of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is a worker's right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions and a workplace may be deemed unsafe for numerous reasons. 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.