OSHA: Rights and Responsibilities

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was formed in 1971 with the mission of assuring “safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.” Most private sector employers are covered by OSHA in all 50 states and, in New York, public sector workers are covered by a state plan. Learn more about employers’ responsibilities, employees’ rights, and what to do if you believe your rights have been violated.

Employers’ responsibilities

Employers have several responsibilities to their employees under OSHA. They are required to follow all safety and health standards and to find and fix safety and health problems. Hazards at the workplace should be eliminated or reduced by making real changes whenever possible instead of relying on personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, or earplugs. Any personal protective equipment that is required must be provided at no cost. Employers must also inform their workers about chemical hazards and provide safety training in a way that is easy to understand. Additionally, they must perform environmental tests, such as air sampling, and medical tests, such as hearing exams, when required by OSHA standards. Employers are required to keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses and to post the summary of that data, along with the OSHA Job Safety and Health poster, where workers can see it. They are not allowed to discriminate or retaliate against employees for using their rights under the law, including the right to report a work-related injury or illness.

Employees’ rights

Both permanent and temporary workers have certain rights that are protected under OSHA. They are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. They may also file a confidential complaint with OSHA to have their workplace inspected, participate in that inspection, and speak in private with the inspector. Employees have a right to receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and OSHA standards that apply to their workplace that is given in a way that is easy to understand. They are also entitled to copies of records of work-related injuries and illnesses at their workplace, results of tests and monitoring done to find and measure hazards in their workplace, and their workplace medical records. Additionally, employees can file a complaint with OSHA if they have been retaliated or discriminated against as a result of requesting an inspection, exercising any of their rights under OSHA, or acting as a whistleblower.

Who to contact

To learn more about OSHA standards and your rights as a worker, visit the OSHA website. If you believe your rights have been violated, contact Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria. We have a rich history in the construction industry and our personal injury team has deep roots in labor. Our experienced attorneys can get you compensation for OSHA violations, including lost wages and benefits, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.