OSHA and Workplace Rights
Workers’ Compensation Attorney Assisting Individuals Near Atlanta
If you are a Georgia worker who has recently been hurt on the job, you may know that your rights are protected by workers’ compensation laws, which are meant to protect your health and safety in the workplace. On the other hand, you may not be aware that you are also protected by existing federal laws and a federal agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which works to ensure enforcement of those federal laws. Workers’ compensation lawyer Julie A. Rice has provided guidance to numerous Atlanta employees on these rules and how they can be used to assert your rights.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act
In 1970, the federal government passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in an effort to improve the safety of work environments for employees throughout the United States. OSHA sets forth minimum requirements that all employers must meet in order to create a safe workplace. It does not, however, prevent states from building upon these requirements to impose additional safety measurements on employers there.
Under OSHA, employers must:
- Provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards;
- Engage in inspections and examinations of workplace conditions;
- Provide employees with the necessary safety tools and equipment;
- Clearly warn employees through signs or other visual means of potential workplace hazards;
- Provide safety training to employees;
- Post an OSHA poster in a prominent location in the workplace informing employees of their rights; and
- Meet any other requirements imposed by virtue of the employer’s industry, such as additional training for people working with hazardous chemicals.
If you believe that your employer is not meeting its obligations under OSHA, you are entitled to enforce your rights under the law. If your workplace is unsafe or certain precautions are not being put in place, you should first inform your supervisor or employer of your concerns. If this does not solve the problem, you may decide to file a complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration directly. A qualified workers’ compensation attorney can help you to do so, or you may do it directly by going online to the OSHA workers’ site. You can also fill out and mail in a formal written complaint. If you are concerned about retaliation from your employer, you can request that OSHA keep your identity confidential.
Once your complaint is received, it will be assigned to a compliance officer who will likely want to speak with you in more detail. Based on the severity of the complaint, the officer may conduct an “off-site” investigation by talking to employees and the employer about any necessary corrective action that needs to be taken. Alternatively, the officer may choose to immediately conduct an on-site inspection. If particularly dangerous conditions are noted during the inspection, the officer can require the employer to take immediate action or ask employees to leave the workplace until the problem is corrected. The officer may also issue a citation that fines the employer for violating OSHA.
Consult a Dedicated Atlanta Lawyer for Your Work Injury Claim
In addition to Georgia state law, the federal government takes your workplace safety seriously and provides several avenues for employees to enforce their rights. If you have recently been hurt due to unsafe conditions at your job, or if you have concerns about an unsafe environment, a legal professional can help you address these problems. Skilled work injury attorney Julie A. Rice has almost two decades of experience helping residents of Atlanta and the surrounding counties take action against their employers. To explore your options, you can contact Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, and Affiliates for an initial consultation at (770) 865-8654 and (813) 363-6664, or online. We serve employees in communities throughout Fulton, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb, and DeKalb Counties, including Marietta, Decatur, and Lawrenceville.