When you go to work, you have the right to a reasonable expectation of safety. Your employer should not place you at unnecessary risk for injury due to unacceptable and unsafe working conditions. Regardless of the specific nature of your job, you do not have to face preventable hazards and work in an unreasonably risky environment. As an employee, you have rights, and you do not have to navigate your concerns alone.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, your employer has the obligation to keep your workplace free from certain types of hazards. Federal law protects your right to a safe work environment, and you can speak out about what you are experiencing at work without fear that you will face retaliation. It may be beneficial to learn about your right to a safe workplace and how you can protect yourself if you feel like you are at risk on the job.
Know your rights in the workplace
Employees are often unaware of their rights in the workplace. There may be an assumption that certain types of safety hazards and risks are simply part of the job, but this may not be the case. It is in your interests to know what is and is not acceptable, and what you can do if your employer has placed you at an unreasonable risk of injury. You have the following rights as an employee:
- You have the right to work on machines that are safe and properly maintained.
- You should receive proper training in a language that you understand.
- Your employer should provide you with the equipment necessary to do your job safely.
- You have the right to protection against exposure to toxic chemicals.
- You may file a report after an injury, and you are entitled to a copy of the injury report.
- You may file a complaint without fear that your employer will retaliate against you.
- You have the right to request an OSHA inspection and speak with the inspector.
If you believe that you are working in an unsafe environment, there are options available to you. You may file a complaint with OSHA, and you may also have grounds to pursue a legal claim against your West Virginia employer. An assessment of your case can help you understand the specific options available to you, providing insight regarding how you can protect your interests when working in an unsafe environment.