Workplace Safety

Federal law regulates the safety of most workplaces in the United States, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Under the law that created OSHA, employees have a right to a reasonably safe and healthy workplace.

It also gives employees the ability to assert that right through legal means. So, if a workplace is unreasonably dangerous, the employee can report this to the appropriate government agency, and the employer is not allowed to retaliate against the employee in any way. Even if the report turns out to be without merit, the employee is still protected, as long as it was made in good faith.

OSHA has drawn up some pretty detailed regulations specific to many industries concerning the safety measures that must be taken. They are too numerous to discuss here. However, if you believe that a condition in your workplace violates an OSHA regulation (and if it seems really dangerous, and would be easy to fix, it probably does), you should contact an attorney.

If you are injured in an on-the-job accident, you are entitled to take part in the workers' compensation program. This generally entitles you to compensation for lost work, medical expenses, and long-term rehabilitation costs. It is operated somewhat like an insurance plan, with an employer paying into the system, to ensure that the needed funds are available. An employee can participate in it regardless of who was at fault for the injury. However, getting workers' compensation typically requires you to give up your right to sue your employer for the injury.

Many states require that injuries be reported to employers within a short period of time, if they are to be eligible for workers' compensation. It's important to report work-related injuries to your employer immediately.