If you’ve complained to your co-workers about unsafe working conditions, you aren’t alone. Every day, workers are injured in the workplace. In many cases, the injuries were avoidable had working conditions been safer. If you’ve been injured at work, Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers can help you deal with the aftermath of your situation.
Employers are legally responsible for providing workers with a safe work environment free of all avoidable health and safety hazards. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, workers have a right to report workplace hazards without fear of retaliation.
Unfortunately, not all employers are aware of or abide by these guidelines. They put profit over safety and it’s the workers who suffer.
What Should You Do If You are Dealing with Safety Hazards in the Workplace?
Workers are responsible for reporting hazards in the workplace. Employers must maintain a safe environment, but they rely on the workers to report potential hazards. You have a right to contact a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer if your employer fails to protect you and prevent avoidable injuries.
The first thing you’ll want to do is report the hazard to your employer. Follow whatever chain of command is in place. This is often enough to remedy the problem, but not always. Remember, there is no requirement that you report the hazard to your employer before contacting OSHA, but allows your employer to address the issue.
Although not required, you can present a solution to the problem to your employer. Be willing to discuss the issue in detail and take an active role in the resolution. This ensures your employer takes the employee’s perspective into account.
If the problem is not remedied after you report it to your employer, contact OSHA. You can do this by phone, mail, or online.
You’ll need to describe the hazard in detail to OSHA. Chances are the agency will contact you to discuss the issue after you submit your report. Make sure you understand the issue enough to explain as many details as possible.
Once OSHA completes its inspection then there will be a closing conference. At this point, you can request a copy of OSHA’s report and discuss the findings of the inspection with the OSHA inspector.
If you do not believe the safety issue was properly resolved or your employer retaliated against you for reporting a safety violation, Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys can help.
What are Some of the Most Common Workplace Safety Issues?
- Inadequate or lack of effective warning systems
- Debris or substances on the floor that create slip and fall hazards
- Blocked safety exits
- Failure to properly maintain or repair equipment
- Lack of or missing safety guards
- Presence of hazardous or toxic chemicals
- Failure to provide the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), necessary training, or protective guards on tools or machinery
- Electrical hazards caused by faulty wiring or poor maintenance
Some of these hazards not only violate OSHA guidelines but are also illegal. An employer can face criminal charges if they fail to implement certain safety measures.
What Happens If Unsafe Work Conditions Cause Injuries?
Anyone injured due to unsafe working conditions might have a right to take legal action against their employer. Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers can review your case and determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation.