Everyone puts up with something unpleasant at their workplace. So unless you have a dream job, it’s likely that you’re worried about your work environment in one way or another. But what should you do when your work environment doesn’t meet the basic needs of the staff?
Employers will often work hard to barely meet OSHA requirements and other state or federal laws on safety. To do so, they must understand the laws and then implement only the absolutely necessary, and that’s typically what people experience at work. If you need legal assistance contact our Charlotte injury lawyers.
Who Sets the Standard?
OSHA is a subsect of the United States Department of Labor, and they set the federal standard for handling that workplace safety. They cover, submit laws for consideration, and enforce approved codes for workplace safety and employee health. However, other regulatory bodies can impose restrictions and set standards, as well.
For example, North Carolina has its Occupational Safety and Health board, which can create more stringent restrictions. Then the state requires that employers have specific insurance policies to protect their employees.
But the United States Department of Labor sets very clear standards and outlines that basically everyone must follow them.
What are the Basics?
Employers must provide safe working environments. That blanket statement covers a broad range of small requirements that apply to different industries within our economy. For example, the most commonly cited violation in 2018 was fall protection, specifically off of roofing in construction.
Generally, you must ensure that your employees are at minimal risk for falling, burns, trip hazards, biological hazards, respiratory hazards, and mechanical hazards. Equipment is often what employers use to reduce these hazards. Lock-out-Tag-out systems, respirators, face masks, and secure connections to reduce falls are mission-critical.
So if you were told to go up on a roof, without protection, or instruction on how to do so safely, then your employer did not meet the basics. If you work near insulation without a facemask, then your employer is not protecting you.
Is Your Work Environment Safe?
When assessing how safe your environment is, consider the proactive measures. Are the scaffolding efforts secure? Do you receive regular training on proper ladder use? Is there machine equipment that prevents injury?
Then there are the elements that require constant vigilance, such as ensuring that spills are cleaned quickly. Additionally, you may need access to disposable materials such as gloves for your own safety.
In nearly every single work environment, the employer needs a combination of active and proactive measures to cultivate employee safety. Even then, an employer simply can’t protect their employees from everything that they should, all of the time.
How Can You Report An Unsafe Work Environment
Reporting an unsafe environment will take you straight to OSHA. They launch massive investigations for claims of blatant non-compliance. Unfortunately, many people don’t proactively report unsafe work environments. Instead, they make a report after an injury or death.
Workers’ compensation insurance will demand a statement about the claim, and more. But, you should take the initiative to file a report with OSHA to ensure that this doesn’t happen to someone else. OSHA can take a long time to initiate their investigation, and the result often is people feeling as though reporting doesn’t make any difference.
It’s important to note that OSHA does not use a first-come, first-serve mentality. Instead, they look to take on fatalities as priorities and then move on to severe injuries. If you were hurt, but not severely it might take months or even a year to get an OSHA investigation. All OSHA reports are kept private, meaning that they can’t tell your employer that you reported it.
However, many people worry that their employer will obviously know who made the report. If there was one slip and fall accident in the last six months and OSHA is investigating, then clearly it would have been your report. The good news is that you can report, file for workers’ compensation, and be secure in your job.
Filing a Workers Comp Claim When Your Company Failed You – Use a North Carolina Workers Compensation Lawyer
All too often, people get hurt on the job because they didn’t follow the OSHA standard. That usually leads to not getting the proper instruction on how to use ladders, setting up scaffolding, and not having access to the right equipment. Even something such as access to face masks and hand soap in certain industries is a basic requirement.
To initiate your workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina, you need to get yourself a Charlotte workers comp lawyer. At 1Charlotte you can get all the legal help that you need.