OSHA is an agency under the United States Department of Labor, responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, and reemployment standards just to name a few. The primary focus of OSHA is to protect employees in the workforce and to reduce the number of deaths, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace. OSHA works to ensure working conditions are both safe and healthful and, in their efforts, provide for research, information, education, and training, in the occupational safety and health field.
Workers are protected by both regulations that employers must adhere to as well as protection to file complaints and concerns against their own workplace. Under OSHA law, employees have the right to:
- A workplace that does not contain serious hazards that could otherwise be controlled.
- Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
- Receive detailed information and training regarding hazards including the methods to prevent injury and illness as well as the applicable OSHA standards to their workplace.
- Receive copies of records regarding work-related injuries and illnesses that have occurred in their workplace.
- Receive copies of test results and monitoring that has been completed to identify and measure hazards.
- Receive copies of their workplace medical records.
- Participate in OSHA inspections as well as privately speak with the compliance officer conducting the inspection.
- File a complaint with OSHA in the case of retaliation or discrimination resulting from the request of an inspection.
- And finally, the right to file a complaint if punished, discriminated, or retaliated against for “whistleblowing.”
It is important to keeping safe workplaces that workers have protections guaranteed to them by OSHA. Many workplaces do not have unions or another type of internal organization to protect workers, and that is where OSHA can save lives and maintain the safety of workers.