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What are my employer’s obligations to my safety?

As a worker, you have a right to a reasonably safe workplace. However, even when an employer meets their obligations, accidents can still happen. If you have concerns about the safety of your workplace, it is helpful to know what you can reasonably expect from your employer under their duty to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In general, your employer must keep your workplace clear of any recognized hazards. In some cases, the workplace is innately dangerous and it is not possible to completely eliminate all the hazards from the worksite. This is especially common in construction or manufacturing jobs, and other manual labor-intensive fields. In these cases, the employer must ensure that all employees have proper safety equipment and that the tools they use are safe for use.

Many of an employer's obligations begin in at the hiring process. When you are hired, your employer must inform you of any OSHA regulations that apply to your field of work or particular worksite, and also make you aware of where to find all safety manuals and guidelines. If your job requires specific safety training, your employer must provide you with the appropriate training when you begin your job, or any time that your duties change to include a new hazard. This instruction must be given in a language you understand.

Your employer must also inform you of where you can find the company's medical and exposure records, and should remind all employees of these records once a year.

If you have concerns about the safety of your workplace or believe that your employer is not fulfilling his or duties to protect employees, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney to ensure that your rights remain secure as you pursue a safe, just workplace.

Source: FindLaw, "OSHA and Construction Workers' Right to a Safe Workplace," accessed June 23, 2017

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