Whether you work in a factory, office or in any other type of workplace setting, making sure that you are working in an environment that is safe is extremely important. There are laws in place to ensure employers adhere to certain regulations and safety requirements in order to protect employees from various types of injuries and risks. While the vast majority of companies strive to ensure that all employees have a safe and healthy place to work, there are times when corners get cut or employers refuse to implement proper protocols and procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees.
While it can be stressful to work in an unsafe environment, many employees are faced with the burden of wondering whether or not they should report safety violations and possibly face the repercussions that might come from being the one who is unwilling to look the other way. This is especially true when given the fact that most employees do not want to lose their job. They rely on their job to pay bills and take care of their families but putting their health or even life at risk is certainly not the best solution.
If you are worried about a workplace that is unsafe, it’s important to make sure that you take the proper steps to help get the situation resolved. This can be an important factor in protecting your own wellbeing and safety as well as that of your coworkers. Whether you don’t have the proper safety equipment or workplace conditions are simply unsafe or unhealthy, you can report these violations and remain anonymous at the same time. This allows workers to report the situation without fear of retaliation from their employer.
If at all possible, your first step should be to bring the violation or safety concern to the attention of your supervisor or employer; however, if this is not something you feel comfortable doing, you can still report the company and seek the help of the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This agency, OSHA, was established almost 50 years ago and plays an important role in overseeing workplace health and safety.
An employee can contact OSHA to file a complaint and report unsafe workplace conditions. If you believe that OSHA standards are not being adhered to or you believe your work environment is not safe, a complaint filed with OSHA can be a good solution to reducing the risk you face at work. When filing a complaint, you can specifically ask that the agency not tell your employer who filed the complaint. OSHA will contact your employer and might even try to get the problem resolved over the phone.
If you’re concerned that your employer is not being forthright with the OSHA inspector, you and your coworkers have the right to speak privately with the inspector. You also have the right to be allowed to be there when the inspection is taking place. If the inspector finds violations, they can issue a citation telling the employer exactly what they need to do in order to fix the problem as well as the deadline in which the issues must be resolved.