An Unsafe Environment and Your Legal Right as a Worker

By Robert Henry posted 04-27-2021 13:10


Both employers and employees are entitled to a safe working environment and legislation has been passed to prevent unnecessary injuries. As a worker, you’re expected to behave in a safe manner but there are legal rights should your workplace be deemed unsafe.

Compensation for work injuries

Every employer has to provide workers with a safe work environment that is free of hazardous areas and substances. They have to provide protective measures for a safe workplace. What happens if the employer didn’t provide information about precautionary measures against work hazards?

The law requires employers to provide employees with safe working conditions, and if you have an injury complaint, employment lawyers Pittsburgh from the Lacy Law Firm can ensure you get compensated by assisting you with employment violations in the workplace. They have an extensive network of top compensation lawyers they can refer you to.

It is always best to first get hold of them with their free consultations and to get advice on how to fathom how certain legal Acts work when you’ve been left with a disability.

Unsafe work environment because of Covid-19

Employers are also required to take all precautions to prevent harm to employees because of Covid-19. Federal law obligates employers to promote workplace safety through the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The Act mainly aims to protect employees from chemical-, biological-, and physical hazards. Whatever risk category you fall into - low exposure risk, medium-, high- or very high exposure risk, your employer has to provide hand sanitizers, personal protective equipment with some jobs and monitor all employees. 

If you feel your workplace is unsafe and you have reported it to your employer with no response, you can file a complaint with OSHA. 

Report your injury

To protect your legal rights when injured at the workplace, you must report your injury to your employer, and quickly too. You can’t wait months, develop symptoms and then decide to report your injury. 

Most states in America require you to report your injury within a certain period of time. This is usually on the same day or the day after that. Circumstances may prevent you from reporting it immediately but the idea is to report the injury as quickly as possible. 

You need to file a claim with the workers' compensation court. Once that has been done, automatic protections are put in place. 

You can refuse to go to work

Not only are you legally permitted to stop working in an unsafe environment, if nothing gets done to make it safe, you can actually leave work and refuse to return until it complies with all safety regulations. If you fear there is a risk of sickness, injury or death, you have the right to not to return to work. 

Be careful how you go about it and be sure to document everything with photographs to show how you have been exposed to an unsafe workplace. There are legalities in place which you must fulfil before you can just walk out like that. 

With unsafe working conditions, as an employee, it is expected of you to report the dangerous condition to OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration. You have legal rights if your employer doesn’t fix the dangerous condition. 

What rights do you have?

Every working person has the right to a safe work environment, but you are also entitled to get training on how to work with dangerous chemicals or machinery. Not only that, apart from training, employees also need to recognize when machinery is not working as it should.

Suppliers have to offer safe, compliant machinery and equipment and this has to be supplied with instructions so that the worker can refer to it. The work equipment has to be maintained and repaired so that it doesn’t pose a risk such as electrocution. 

Only competent, trained technicians can be allowed to repair the machinery and proper records of maintenance checks must be kept.