Temporary Worker Safety – “What You Need To Know & A Real Life Story”

“Temporary Work, Lasting Harm”

by Michael Grabell, Olga Pierce and Jeff Larson
ProPublica, Dec. 18, 2013, 2:27 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This was it, he told his brother Jojo. He would finally be able to pay his mother back for the fender bender, buy some new shoes and, if things went well, maybe even start a life with his fiancee who was living in Atlanta.

After getting his high school diploma, completing federal job training and sending out dozens of applications, Day Davis, 21, got a job. It was through a temp agency and didn’t pay very much, but he would be working at the Bacardi bottling plant, making the best-selling rum in the world.

Davis called his mother to tell her the good news and ask if she could pick him up so he could buy the required steel-toe boots, white shirt and khaki pants and get to the factory for a 15-minute orientation before his 3 p.m. shift.

Word spread quickly through the family. “Me and my brother was like, ‘Don’t mess up now, you got to do good, don’t mess up,’ ” said his younger sister, Nia.

It was a humid 90 degrees as Davis walked into Bacardi’s Warehouse No. 7 to the rattle of glass bottles, the whir of fans and the clank of industrial machines. It was his first day on the first job of his life. He went to the bathroom and took a photo of himself in the mirror, showing off his work clothes and orange safety vest. He texted it to his fiancee, Alicia Lloyd, and promised he would call her during his break.

When Davis walked into the factory, he joined one of the fastest-growing and more dangerous segments of the U.S. labor market: blue-collar temp work.

Since the 2008 recession, companies have increasingly turned to temporary employees to work in factories and warehouses and on construction sites. The temp industry now employs a record 2.8 million workers.

The trend carries a human cost.

A ProPublica analysis of millions of workers’ compensation claims shows that in five states, representing more than a fifth of the U.S. population, temps face a significantly greater risk of getting injured on the job than permanent employees.

In California and Florida, two of the largest states, temps had about 50 percent greater risk of being injured on the job than non-temps. That risk was 36 percent higher in Massachusetts, 66 percent in Oregon and 72 percent in Minnesota.

These statistics understate the dangers faced by blue-collar temps like Davis. Nationwide, temps are far more likely to find jobs in dangerous occupations like manufacturing and warehousing. And their likelihood of injury grows dramatically.

In Florida, for example, temps in blue-collar workplaces were about six times as likely to be injured than permanent employees doing similar jobs.

The findings were particularly stark for severe injuries. In Florida, the data shows, temps were about twice as likely as regular employees to suffer crushing injuries, dislocations, lacerations, fractures and punctures. They were about three times as likely to suffer an amputation on the job in Florida and the three other states for which such records are available.

ProPublica interviewed more than 100 temp workers across the nation and reviewed more than 50 Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigations involving temp worker accidents.

The interviews and OSHA files revealed situations that occur over and over again: untrained laborers asphyxiated while cleaning the inside of chemical tanks, caught in heavy machinery such as food grinders and tire shredders, and afflicted by heat stroke after a long day on a garbage truck or roof.

The lightly regulated blue-collar temp world is one where workers are often sent to do dangerous jobs with little or no training. Where the company overseeing the work isn’t required to pay the medical bills if temps get hurt. And where, when temp workers do get injured on the job, the temp firm and the company fight with each other over who is responsible, sometimes even delaying emergency medical care while they sort it out.

The growing reliance on temps subverts one of the strongest incentives for companies to protect workers. The workers’ comp system was designed to encourage safety through economic pressure; companies with higher injury rates pay higher insurance premiums. Hiring temp workers shields companies from those costs. If a temp worker gets hurt, the temp agency pays the workers’ comp, even though it has little or no control over job sites.

OSHA director David Michaels said he has been alarmed by the number of temp workers being killed on their first day on the job. Earlier this year, he launched an initiative to raise awareness about the dangers temp workers face and employers’ responsibilities. But despite growing concern about temp workers’ safety, regulators and lawmakers have struggled to make major changes, in part because they lack basic data, such as whether temps get injured more than regular workers. Unlike the way it monitors every other industry, the federal government does not keep injury statistics on temp agency workers.

A groundbreaking 2010 study of Washington state’s workers’ comp claims found that temp workers in construction and manufacturing had twice the claims rate of regular workers doing the same type of work.

It’s not possible to track temp workers’ injuries nationwide through workers’ comp records. Many states, such as New Jersey, consider workers’ comp claims to be confidential and declined to release them to ProPublica. In other states, such as New York, there is no way to sift out temp workers from regular workers. In Texas, employers aren’t required to carry workers’ comp insurance, and many fail to report their employees’ injuries to state authorities.

The data that does exist, however, identify consistent trends, allowing ProPublica to conduct the first multistate study of temp worker injury claims. Our analysis covered five years of workers’ comp data, amounting to more than 3.5 million claims, in five states: California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Oregon.

“Caught in” and “struck by” injuries were significantly more common among temps, records show. In California, temps were about twice as likely as regular workers to be stricken by heat exhaustion. And in Minnesota, temps were at least three times as likely to be injured by chemicals as their regular counterparts.

Within blue-collar industries, temps tend to be manual laborers, who have higher injury rates, rather than supervisors and skilled technicians, who have lower injury rates.

And the data shows the problem is worsening. Over the past five years, the claims rate of temp workers has increased in Florida, California, Oregon and Massachusetts, while that of regular workers has held steady or fallen.

The workers’ comp system is an imperfect record of injuries. Some workers file false claims. Some employers try to deter employees from filing legitimate claims. But public health researchers and workers’ comp insurance experts suggested workers’ comp data likely undercounts injuries to temp workers. One reason: If temp workers, almost none of whom are represented by a union, report injuries, they risk being blacklisted by their temp agency.

Bacardi said in a statement that it has been “steadfast in its commitment’’ to safety.

But according to OSHA, the bottling plant Davis walked into on the afternoon of Aug. 16, 2012, epitomized many of the hazards temp workers face. It was a factory, OSHA investigators later wrote, that put profits over safety, trained its workers to cut corners and treated its temps as “second-class citizens” and “peons” – a portrait Bacardi disputes.

He was born Lawrence Daquan Davis, but everyone who knew him called him Day. His mother, Tonya Washington, was 14 when she gave birth to him in Smithfield, N.C., later moving to Jacksonville. She struggled to make ends meet, working at day cares and dollar stores, fast-food chains and supermarkets. But Washington and her family worked hard to raise him right.

“You see all these little boys walking around with the sagging pants and gold in their mouths,” Washington said. “I have to pat myself on the back, because that wasn’t my baby.”

Read the rest of this story here: http://www.propublica.org/article/temporary-work-lasting-harm/single#republish

Source: Pro Publica

_____________________________________________

“Supervising employer responsible for recording temporary worker injuries and illnesses”

March 31, 2014 – Posted by Paul Giannetti

When a temporary worker gets injured on the job, a game of hot potato sometimes ensues between the staffing agency that supplies the worker and the host employer. Both parties can be reluctant to claim recordkeeping responsibility, each considering the other to be the worker’s “real” employer.

In a new educational bulletin, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) clarifies who is responsible for recording temporary employees’ work-related injuries and illnesses on the OSHA-300 log. The bulletin explains that the staffing agency and host employer jointly employ temporary workers and share a certain degree of responsibility for conditions of employment and legal compliance.  Nonetheless, only one employer should record a temporary worker’s injury or illness. In most cases, OSHA says, the host employer is the responsible party.

Supervision is the deciding factor

The key to determining record keeping responsibility lies in supervision. The employer considered responsible for recording work-related illnesses or injuries:

  •  supervises a temporary worker on a day-to-day basis
  • controls conditions presenting potential hazards
  • directs the worker’s activities around, and exposure to, those hazards

Day-to-day supervision is defined as when “the employer supervises the details, means and methods and processes by which the work is to be accomplished.” Using this definition, there is a high likelihood that the host employer, not the staffing agency, will have a greater degree of supervisory responsibility. Even if the staffing agency has a representative at the work site, as long as the host company retains supervisory control, it is responsible for recording injuries and illnesses.

Employers must share information

The staffing agency isn’t free of responsibility, however. Staffing agencies have a duty to stay in frequent contact with temporary employees and the host employer to ensure that injuries and illnesses are accurately recorded and hazardous conditions in the workplace are identified.

Staffing agencies should also work with the host employer to establish a seamless notification procedure for the mutual exchange on information on any work-related illnesses or injuries experienced by temporary workers. In this way, employers can be cognizant of potential workplace hazards, take steps to eliminate them, and provide appropriate training and/or protective equipment to workers to prevent exposures.

The bulletin is the first in a series of guidance documents to be published as part of OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative. The initiative was launched last year in conjunction with Workers’ Memorial Day, an annual observance held on April 28 to honor workers who have died on the job and promote a renewed commitment to safe and healthy workplaces.

Learn how PureSafety, the workplace safety industry’s first learning and safety management system,helps employee safety professionals proactively manage training, safety and compliance.

 

About these ads

“The Chain of Events That Causes Workplace Accidents”

Harsco Video®

Merriam-Webster’s definition of accident is, “an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance.” The first example of the word used in a sentence is, “He was injured in an accident at work.” Why does the first example of accident involve the workplace? Because, unfortunately, workplace accidents are far too common. Each year, more than 2 million workers are injured severely enough on the job that they cannot return to work and need ongoing medical care. As an employer or manager, it’s your job to help protect your employees from accidents that threaten their work and wellbeing. Follow these 5 best practices to prevent accidents in your workplace.

Note: Although you are responsible for creating a safe work environment, it is each worker’s responsibility to take an active role in maintaining safety. So make sure your employees are following these best practices:

  1. Shortcuts & Shortcomings: — It’s natural to want to get the job finished on schedule — or even ahead of time — but with a “get it done quick” attitude, accidents happen. Don’t take shortcuts — stick to the instructions and work with diligence and awareness of your surroundings. Also, if there are shortcomings in the instructions, don’t begin the work until they are clarified and all your questions are answered! You must always be comfortable and familiar with the procedure before commencing any work.
  2. Safety in Transit: — According to OSHA, workplace-driving accidents cost employers an average of $60 billion a year. Make sure that all company vehicles are inspected each month and necessary repairs are made as soon as possible. Before driving a company vehicle, check break lights, turn signals, tire pressure and amount of gas in the tank.
  3. Weather the Weather: — Both inside and outdoor work may expose you to extreme conditions. Whether very hot or very cold, both ends of the temperature spectrum can impact your health.
    1. Cold: Dress in layers and make sure you properly cover your head, feet, hands and face — these parts of your body are most prone to frostbite. Always keep a change of clothes at work in case your clothes get wet.
      FOR THE EMPLOYER: If your workers are exposed to cold conditions, install on-site heating devices.
    2. Heat: Wear loose-fitting clothes, take frequent breaks in a cool rest area and get plenty of fluids. If you have preexisting medical conditions, consult your doctor before working in extreme heat.
      FOR THE EMPLOYER: If your workers are exposed to extreme heat, make sure there is adequate ventilation and airflow — open windows and utilize fans.
  4. Make PPE a VIP: — Personal Protective Equipment is crucial to prevent injury, so make sure you wear it… and wear it properly! This includes:
    1. Goggles and face protection to protect from flying particles, chemicals or caustic liquids.
    2. Gloves to prevent cuts, scrapes, punctures, burns, chemical absorption or temperature extremes.
    3. Hard hats to safeguard against falling objects.
    4. Safety shoes for work areas where heavy objects could be dropped and injure the feet.
    5. Ear muffs or ear plugs to protect against hearing damage in noisy workplaces.
      FOR THE EMPLOYER: Providing the safety equipment isn’t enough — you must make sure that your workers know how to use it properly. Provide adequate PPE training.*
  5. Shipshape Safety: — Many workers don’t realize the negative consequences of poor housekeeping. If an unkempt workplace becomes the norm — paper, debris, clutter and spills are accepted as “familiar” — then more serious health and safety hazards are overlooked and injuries become more probable. Housekeeping goes beyond personal cleanliness — it also includes keeping work areas orderly, taking care of any slip-and-trip hazards as soon as they arise and removing waste and fire hazards regularly. Assess your work environment with a critical eye and pay attention to the layout of the workplace, aisle marking, adequacy of storage and maintenance. Report dangers or deficiencies right away!
    • FOR THE EMPLOYER: OSHA’s Good Housekeeping in Industry not only explains the significance and benefits of good housekeeping, but also provides a good housekeeping checklist and elements of a good housekeeping campaign.

    The backbone of a safe working environment is a proper accident prevention program that incorporates the aforementioned practices and encourages employees to take safety measures seriously. As an employer, it’s your job to make your employees feel comfortable asking questions and reporting dangerous situations — make them feel safe to be safe.

 

Employee Injuries Cost US Companies In Excess Of A Billion Dollars A Week

In Washington State they have a subsidized RTW program. Light-duty jobs for injured workers help keep valued employees and control employer costs. Hear how from the Eagle Group in Spokane, WA.

According to the 2013 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the most disabling workplace injuries and illnesses in 2011 amounted to $55.4 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs. This translates into more than a billion dollars spent by businesses each week on the most disabling injuries.

The top cause of disabling injuries was once again overexertion. This includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing and cost businesses $14.2 billion in direct costs and accounted for 25.7% of the national burden. The other top 3 were: Falls on same level, struck by object or equipment, and falls to lower level.

Using OSHA’s Safety Pays calculator, we can get an idea of how much an injury costs and the amount of sales needed to cover that cost. For example, one strain can cost a company more than $67,000. If your company has a profit margin of 5%, that means you need sales of more than $1.3 million to pay for that single injury.

Given the magnitude of these costs, why does safety fall by the wayside? Why are injuries, such as back strain and falls still a common occurrence in the workplace?

The sooner employers realize the benefits of an effective safety and health system, the sooner:

  • injury and illness rates decline
  • medical expenses are cut
  • OSHA penalties are avoided
  • productivity is increased
  • profitability is improved

In California, the Hayward Lumber Company provides an excellent example of how a company can promote safety and health. In an interview, Bill Hayward, CEO, told the American Society of Safety Engineers: “Our basic safety training is ongoing and intense. Employees are trained in ergonomics, equipment, proper lifting, handling and personal protective equipment, and they know that we take their safety and health very seriously.”

A proper safety culture is only going to thrive if it is completely fluid throughout the facility – from the CEO to the line worker. The safety and health professional must be able to effectively interact with senior management and vice versa. Safety professionals must be able to use return-on-investment analyses and speak the language of senior executives. Similarly, senior management must understand the safety professional’s perspective and contributions to the organization’s overall well-being and prosperity.

How does a company know if it has instilled a proper safety culture?

Management and employees:

  • believe in a safe and healthy workplace
  • take responsibility for protecting the safety and health of others as well as themselves
  • train constantly at all levels within the organization
  • have meaningful and measurable safety and health improvement goals
  • have positive attitudes – continuously

Learn how PureSafety, the workplace safety industry’s first learning and safety management system, helps employee safety professionals proactively manage training, safety and compliance.

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Langdon Dement

Langdon Dement, MS, AEP (Associate Ergonomics Professional), GSP (Graduate Safety Practitioner), is an EHS Advisor with UL Workplace Health and Safety, focusing on industrial hygiene, ergonomics, patient handling and Job Hazard Analysis. He holds a degree in Occupational Safety and Health (M.S.) with a specialization in Industrial Hygiene from Murray State University and a degree in Biology from Harding University (B.S.).

Infographic: Job Hazard Analysis – “How Does It Work?”

Job hazard analysis (JHA) is step-by-step method of analyzing a job or task to uncover its potential and actual dangers. In a JHA, tasks are broken down into a series of basic steps. Each step is analyzed for hazards, and safe work practices are developed to reduce or eliminate these hazards.

This infographic will guide you through the steps of conducting a JHA. For more information, check out BLR’s Job Hazard Analysis Guide.

Job Hazard Analysis

Job Hazard Analysis by Safety.BLR.com

 

“Five Ways To Prevent Workplace Accidents”

Harsco Video®

Merriam-Webster’s definition of accident is, “an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance.” The first example of the word used in a sentence is, “He was injured in an accident at work.” Why does the first example of accident involve the workplace? Because, unfortunately, workplace accidents are far too common. Each year, more than 2 million workers are injured severely enough on the job that they cannot return to work and need ongoing medical care. As an employer or manager, it’s your job to help protect your employees from accidents that threaten their work and wellbeing. Follow these 5 best practices to prevent accidents in your workplace.

Note: Although you are responsible for creating a safe work environment, it is each worker’s responsibility to take an active role in maintaining safety. So make sure your employees are following these best practices:

  1. Shortcuts & Shortcomings: — It’s natural to want to get the job finished on schedule — or even ahead of time — but with a “get it done quick” attitude, accidents happen. Don’t take shortcuts — stick to the instructions and work with diligence and awareness of your surroundings. Also, if there are shortcomings in the instructions, don’t begin the work until they are clarified and all your questions are answered! You must always be comfortable and familiar with the procedure before commencing any work.
  2. Safety in Transit: — According to OSHA, workplace-driving accidents cost employers an average of $60 billion a year. Make sure that all company vehicles are inspected each month and necessary repairs are made as soon as possible. Before driving a company vehicle, check break lights, turn signals, tire pressure and amount of gas in the tank.
  3. Weather the Weather: — Both inside and outdoor work may expose you to extreme conditions. Whether very hot or very cold, both ends of the temperature spectrum can impact your health.
    1. Cold: Dress in layers and make sure you properly cover your head, feet, hands and face — these parts of your body are most prone to frostbite. Always keep a change of clothes at work in case your clothes get wet.
      FOR THE EMPLOYER: If your workers are exposed to cold conditions, install on-site heating devices.
    2. Heat: Wear loose-fitting clothes, take frequent breaks in a cool rest area and get plenty of fluids. If you have preexisting medical conditions, consult your doctor before working in extreme heat.
      FOR THE EMPLOYER: If your workers are exposed to extreme heat, make sure there is adequate ventilation and airflow — open windows and utilize fans.
  4. Make PPE a VIP: — Personal Protective Equipment is crucial to prevent injury, so make sure you wear it… and wear it properly! This includes:
    1. Goggles and face protection to protect from flying particles, chemicals or caustic liquids.
    2. Gloves to prevent cuts, scrapes, punctures, burns, chemical absorption or temperature extremes.
    3. Hard hats to safeguard against falling objects.
    4. Safety shoes for work areas where heavy objects could be dropped and injure the feet.
    5. Ear muffs or ear plugs to protect against hearing damage in noisy workplaces.
      FOR THE EMPLOYER: Providing the safety equipment isn’t enough — you must make sure that your workers know how to use it properly. Provide adequate PPE training.*
  5. Shipshape Safety: — Many workers don’t realize the negative consequences of poor housekeeping. If an unkempt workplace becomes the norm — paper, debris, clutter and spills are accepted as “familiar” — then more serious health and safety hazards are overlooked and injuries become more probable. Housekeeping goes beyond personal cleanliness — it also includes keeping work areas orderly, taking care of any slip-and-trip hazards as soon as they arise and removing waste and fire hazards regularly. Assess your work environment with a critical eye and pay attention to the layout of the workplace, aisle marking, adequacy of storage and maintenance. Report dangers or deficiencies right away!
    • FOR THE EMPLOYER: OSHA’s Good Housekeeping in Industry not only explains the significance and benefits of good housekeeping, but also provides a good housekeeping checklist and elements of a good housekeeping campaign.

    The backbone of a safe working environment is a proper accident prevention program that incorporates the aforementioned practices and encourages employees to take safety measures seriously. As an employer, it’s your job to make your employees feel comfortable asking questions and reporting dangerous situations — make them feel safe to be safe.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Defining The Word “Safety” – Part 1 – James Roughton

According to OSHA: You have the right to a safe workplace -
En EspañolTiếng Việt Nam

You have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to workers and employers. Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards.

Contact us if you have questions or want to file a complaint. We will keep your information confidential. We are here to help you.

Workers’ Rights Booklet [PDF*]

Workers’ rights under the OSH Act

Workers are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. To help assure a safe and healthful workplace, OSHA also provides workers with the right to:

  • Ask OSHA to inspect their workplace;
  • Use their rights under the law without retaliation and discrimination;
  • Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be in a language you can understand;
  • Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace;
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses;
  • Get copies of their medical records;

Who OSHA Covers

Private Sector Workers

Most employees in the nation come under OSHA’s jurisdiction. OSHA covers private sector employers and employees in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions either directly through Federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state program. State-run health and safety programs must be at least as effective as the Federal OSHA program. To find the contact information for the OSHA Federal or State Program office nearest you, see the Regional and Area Offices map.

State and Local Government Workers

Employees who work for state and local governments are not covered by Federal OSHA, but have OSH Act protections if they work in a state that has an OSHA-approved state program. Four additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA approved plans that cover public sector employees only. This includes: Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands. Private sector workers in these four states and the Virgin Islands are covered by Federal OSHA.

Federal Government Workers

Federal agencies must have a safety and health program that meet the same standards as private employers. Although OSHA does not fine federal agencies, it does monitor federal agencies and responds to workers’ complaints. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is covered by OSHA.

Not covered by the OSH Act:

  • Self-employed;
  • Immediate family members of farm employers that do not employ outside employees; and
  • Workplace Hazards regulated by another Federal agency (for example, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard).

OSHA standards: Protection on the Job

OSHA standards are rules that describe the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from hazards. There are OSHA standards for Construction work, Agriculture, Maritime operations, and General Industry, which are the standards that apply to most worksites. These standards limit the amount of hazardous chemicals workers can be exposed to, require the use of certain safe practices and equipment, and require employers to monitor hazards and keep records of workplace injuries and illnesses. Examples of OSHA standards include requirements to: provide fall protection, prevent trenching cave ins, prevent some infectious diseases, assure that workers safely enter confined spaces, prevent exposure to harmful substances like asbestos, put guards on machines, provide respirators or other safety equipment, and provide training for certain dangerous jobs.

Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards. This clause is generally cited when no OSHA standard applies to the hazard.

Workers can ask OSHA to Inspect their Workplace

Workers, or their representatives, may file a complaint and ask OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA standards. A worker can tell OSHA not to let their employer know who filed the complaint. It is a violation of the Act for an employer to fire, demote, transfer or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.

You can file a complaint online; download the form [En Espanol*] and mail or fax it to the nearest OSHA office; or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Most complaints sent in on line may be resolved informally over the phone with your employer. Written complaints that are signed by a worker or their representative and submitted to the closest OSHA office are more likely to result in an on-site OSHA inspection.

When the OSHA inspector arrives, workers and their representatives have the right to:

  • Go along on the inspection.
  • Talk privately with the OSHA inspector.
  • Take part in meetings with the inspector and the employer before and after the inspection is conducted.

Where there is no union or employee representative, the OSHA inspector must talk confidentially with a reasonable number of workers during the course of the investigation.

When an inspector finds violations of OSHA standards or serious hazards, OSHA may issue citations and fines. A citation includes methods an employer may use to fix a problem and the date by when the corrective actions must be completed. Workers only have the right to challenge the deadline for when a problem must be resolved. Employers, on the other hand, have the right to contest whether there is a violation or any other part of the citation. Workers or their representatives must notify OSHA that they want to be involved in the appeals process if the employer challenges a citation.

If you send in a complaint requesting an OSHA inspection, you have the right to find out the results of the OSHA inspection and request a review if OSHA decides not to issue citations.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers MUST provide their employees with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and follow all relevant OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires employers to try to eliminate or reduce hazards first by making changes in working conditions rather than just relying on masks, gloves, ear plugs or other types of personal protective equipment (PPE). Switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to get rid of or minimize risks.

Employers MUST also:

  • Inform employees about hazards through training, labels, alarms, color-coded systems, chemical information sheets and other methods.
  • Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling required by some OSHA standards.
  • Provide hearing exams or other medical tests required by OSHA standards.
  • Post OSHA citations, injury and illness data, and the OSHA poster in the workplace where workers will see them.
  • Notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace incident in which there is a death or when three or more workers go to a hospital.
  • Not discriminate or retaliate against a worker for using their rights under the law.

Your right to report injuries

As a worker in the United States, you have the right to report work-related injuries and illnesses.

Under OSHA law, your employer must develop a process for workers to report a workplace injury or illness and ensure that you are able to use this process. It is your employer’s responsibility to guarantee that workplace practices do not discourage workers from reporting their injuries or illnesses.

If your employer does discriminate or retaliate against you for trying to report an injury or illness, you have the right to file a retaliation complaint with OSHA. You must file the complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged reprisal.

You Cannot be Punished or Discriminated against for using your OSHA Rights

The OSH Act protects workers who complain to their employer, OSHA or other government agencies about unsafe or unhealthful working conditions in the workplace. You cannot be transferred, denied a raise, have your hours reduced, be fired, or punished in any other way because you used any right given to you under the OSH Act. Help is available from OSHA for whistleblowers.

If you have been punished or discriminated against for using your rights, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged reprisal for most complaints. No particular form is required to report the discrimination, but you may send a letter, call the OSHA Area Office nearest you, download and send a completed Notice of Whistleblower Complaint Form (OSHA 8-60.1), or file online using the Online Whistleblower Complaint Form.

What to do if there is a Dangerous Situation at Work

If you believe working conditions are unsafe or unhealthful, we recommend that you bring the conditions to your employer’s attention, if possible.

You may file a complaint with OSHA concerning a hazardous working condition at any time. However, you should not leave the worksite merely because you have filed a complaint. If the condition clearly presents a risk of death or serious physical harm, there is not sufficient time for OSHA to inspect, and, where possible, you have brought the condition to the attention of your employer, you may have a legal right to refuse to work in a situation in which you would be exposed to the hazard.

Additional Information for Workers

Has my employer ever been inspected by OSHA?You can research your employer’s inspection history through OSHA’s Establishment Search. Type in the name of your company and choose the dates you want to cover.

What is the most commonly cited hazard in my industry?You’ll need to know your employer’s Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code. Once you know your four-digit code, visit OSHA’s Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page, enter your SIC code and view the information for last year.

Does OSHA provide technical information on hazards?OSHA provides technical information to assist workers, employers, and safety and health professionals in reducing occupational injuries and illnesses. Find information on bloodborne pathogens, machine guarding, ergonomics or fall protection, for example.

What materials does OSHA have of interest to workers?OSHA publishes a variety of publications on a range of subjects. Some of the most useful publications for workers are listed below. See OSHA Publications for a complete listing of agency printed materials or to order publications online.

Additional Resources

For more information: https://www.osha.gov/workers.html

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 954 other followers

%d bloggers like this: