Numerous laws have been established over the years to give employees inherent rights in the workplace. One of the most important federal laws is the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This law holds companies to certain standards so that deaths, illnesses and injuries related to the workplace could be reduced. There are certain substances you must protect your workers against and certain standards you must be held to.
What Topics Does OSHA Cover?
There is a wide range of topics that OSHA covers, including:
- Chemical Agents: If your business requires that employees handle or be around various chemicals, then you must clearly label each container. You must also inform your employees about what precise chemicals they are potentially being exposed to and give them information related to what health hazards these chemicals pose.
- Biological Agents: Certain industries require workers to deal with various biological agents such as swine flu or anthrax.
- Construction Safety: Jobs within the construction industry require employees to use heavy-duty equipment. You must tell your employees how they must safely handle this equipment and what risks they pose.
- Emergency Preparedness: You should be prepared for the worst and have contingency plans in place in the event anything harmful happens.
- Ergonomics: More jobs than ever before require employees to sit behind desks for eight hours every day. OSHA requires you meet certain standards so that certain health problems do not develop in employees who have to sit all the time.
- Maritime Safety: Rules are in place for businesses that deal with maritime activities. Protections must be in place to safeguard workers while they are out on the open seas.Numerous other topics are brought up in OSHA such as tobacco use and indoor air quality. Make sure to review OSHA carefully as well as any state or city laws that your business will need to follow.
What to Do If Your Business Is Unsafe
There are two types of threats you should be aware of in case they come up in your workplace. The first is a threat that is not an imminent danger. These are cases where something could potentially bad could happen in the future, but it is not doing any harm now. You may not be aware of it, but your employees have the right to inform you of the problem and ask for a remedy. You should fix it within a timely manner. If you do not, then your employees have the right to file complaints with an OSHA representative. You are not allowed to retaliate against employees for taking this action. Retaliation in this sense refers to a reduction in wages or termination of employment.The second variety of safety hazard is one that does pose an imminent danger. This means that employees could get hurt immediately if the problem is not dealt with right away. When this happens, employees have a right to not work until the issue is handled. An employee can refuse to work if there is evidence to support the notion that the employee could sustain an injury or get killed from the problem at hand. There may also not be enough time for the worker to file an OSHA complaint, and there could be no other alternative around doing his or her job. It is in everyone’s best interest that you handle the dangerous problem promptly. It is the only way to ensure that no one gets hurt and that your employees get back to work soon. Unsafe work conditions are not good for your workers, and they are not good for business. You should take whatever actions are necessary to reduce the chances of injuries or illnesses. This will keep you on the right side of the law, and it will keep your employees happy.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.