You may face an unpleasant choice on the job: reporting possible dangers in the workplace. Your well-being must be a priority. You may have to file a report with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA issues and enforces regulations that govern workplace safety. When an employer fails to provide a safe workplace per the regulations, OSHA may take action against the employer. Most often, enforcement action is in the form of a fine. In extreme cases, OSHA can order work on-site to stop.
Employees have the right to file a report with OSHA if there are unsafe conditions at a workplace. OSHA would investigate the complaint and determine whether they can handle it off-site or send inspectors to the worksite. If OSHA finds violations, they may issue a fine. If OSHA finds willful and repeated violations, they could hit the employer with a massive penalty.
When Should You Report Workplace Hazards to OSHA?
Employees can choose whether to file a report with their employer or go to OSHA. The company should have a mechanism to report safety issues internally. There should be a culture of compliance within the company. However, the managers you would be reporting to could be responsible for the violations.
Common safety issues that could require an OSHA report include:
- Physical hazards (slip and fall risks, heavy machinery dangers, etc.)
- Chemical hazards (exposure to toxic substances)
- Biological hazards (exposure to infectious agents)
Sometimes, you may have no choice but to report the violation to OSHA. Your job and safety could be at stake.
Employees may want to start at the company level. If you do not find that you are getting the desired results, you may have to escalate your report to OSHA.
If there are imminent health and safety hazards, you should go straight to OSHA. You may not have the time to go through the corporate reporting process.
What Are the Benefits of Reporting to OSHA?
OSHA has a process for handling employee complaints. The company has numerous field offices that put inspectors relatively close to your worksite. They are well-equipped to know when they have to take immediate action. While your employer may have financial motivations, OSHA’s sole purpose is to protect you. OSHA will follow up with your employer, reporting the alleged safety concerns and hazards. Your employer must respond to OSHA because they may face significant consequences. Reporting a danger to OSHA is often the best way to get quick action that may protect you from work injuries.
Are OSHA Reports Confidential?
OSHA will keep all reports confidential and will not reveal your identity to your employer. There is always a chance that your employer could figure out you made a complaint. However, you get certain protections once you file an OSHA complaint. Employers cannot take action against a whistleblower. If they try to fire you for contacting OSHA, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the employer. Your safety takes priority if you believe that working conditions are hazardous.
Contact Our Monmouth County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael S. Williams if You Believe Your Workplace Is Dangerous
If you have been injured on the job or believe your workplace is dangerous, our Monmouth County workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael S. Williams can help. Call us at 732-351-2800 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Tinton Falls and New Brunswick, New Jersey. We serve clients in the Shrewsbury, Tinton Falls, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County areas and throughout the state.