Unsafe working conditions are a serious problem that can cause injury to employees. Fortunately, there are ways to report unsafe working conditions.
Generally, it’s best to bring the hazard to your employer’s attention. If possible, try to do this in person.
Remember that your employer is required to follow OSHA guidelines, and you can’t be retaliated against for reporting a safety concern.
1. Report the Hazard to Your Employer
Bringing safety hazards to the attention of your employer is usually the first step that needs to be taken. Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide you with a safe workplace, and they should correct any unsafe working conditions as soon as they’re aware of them.
Most employers are willing to make corrections when they’re made aware of a problem. Therefore, you should always start by reporting the unsafe condition to your supervisor or human resources representative. It’s a good idea to communicate your concerns in writing so that you have proof of the unsafe working condition.
If your employer does not immediately address the unsafe work conditions, you can file a complaint with OSHA. This will trigger an inspection of the workplace and force them to address any safety issues they are not currently taking care of. It is important to remember that it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you in any way for submitting a complaint or using your OSHA rights.
If you believe that your employer has retaliated against you for bringing a safety concern to their attention, contact Olivier & Schreiber LLP right away. Our attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights of employees who have been victimized in the workplace. We can review your case and determine the best course of action moving forward.
2. File a Complaint with OSHA
There are several ways to report unsafe working conditions to OSHA. You can file your complaint in person, by phone or mail/fax/email. You can even do it anonymously. Generally, the higher priority the hazard has, the more likely it is to trigger an onsite OSHA inspection. You can also ask to have a worker representative accompany the OSHA inspector during the investigation.
Depending on your workplace, it may be easier to voice safety concerns to the company’s HR department or union representatives. Some larger businesses have formal complaint procedures for employees to follow. If your employer retaliates against you for reporting hazardous work conditions, then you can file a claim with the federal or California state whistleblower protection programs.
In addition to performing regular inspections, OSHA can conduct an investigation and onsite inspection of your workplace based on worker complaints, injuries/illnesses, referrals from other agencies or organizations, and many other factors. If OSHA finds a violation, they will issue citations and fines to your employer and conduct follow-up inspections until the problems are corrected.
If a hazard poses an imminent threat to your safety, then you should refuse to work until the problem is addressed. However, you should only take this option if there are alternative, safe duties that you can perform. If you are in danger of getting seriously injured, it is best to seek medical attention immediately.
3. Report the Hazard to Your Supervisor
If you work in an environment with unsafe working conditions, it’s important to bring these issues to the attention of your supervisor. Employers are required by law to provide their employees with safe and healthy working conditions, and failing to do so can result in serious injury and death. In the United States, workers are protected by federal laws that govern workplace safety.
It’s typically best to talk to your supervisor about a safety concern in person, as this will often be the most effective way to resolve the issue. However, if you’re concerned about your safety, it’s a good idea to write down your concerns in case there is any dispute after your conversation.
Aside from the obvious risks to employee health, unsafe working conditions can also damage a company’s reputation and cause lost revenue. A company with a poor safety record is less likely to attract customers and may have difficulty recruiting skilled workers.
If you’re unable to resolve the problem with your employer, you can file a complaint with OSHA. You can do this online, by fax, mail, or in person at a regional office. All of these options will require you to describe the specific hazard and to give your name. However, you can choose to remain anonymous if you wish. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate your report and may conduct an inspection of your workplace.
4. Take Photos or Videos of the Hazard
No job is completely safe from workplace accidents, but you can protect yourself by reporting safety hazards to your employer and the state. When you file a complaint, the government will inspect your worksite and determine if your employer violated the General Safety Law by creating unsafe working conditions.
A violation of the General Safety Law can lead to fines and a requirement for your employer to fix the dangerous condition. If you get hurt at work, filing a complaint could also help you claim workers’ compensation or third-party claims for damages.
When you file a complaint, be sure to provide as much detail as possible about the hazard. This will allow the government to quickly investigate your claim and take action if necessary. Make sure to include the time, date, location, and a description of the hazard. It is also helpful to include photos or videos of the hazardous condition, if possible.
Health and safety are important for any business, but they are especially important in certain occupations. If you believe that your working conditions are unsafe and that your employer isn’t doing anything about it, you may be able to refuse to perform certain tasks or even quit your job. However, you should always consider your own personal situation carefully before making a decision like this.