Do Construction Workers’ Right to a Safe Workplace?
Construction can be a very dangerous profession and, too often, employees in that profession are unaware that their employer is required to provide them a safe workplace. In fact, like all employers, construction companies are required to reduce workplace hazards and implement programs to protect the health and safety of their employees, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Under OSHA, which is governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, as a construction employee, you are entitled to copies of standards, rules, regulations and requirements related to the company and the construction industry. In addition, you must be provided access to information related to any possible exposures as well as your medical records kept on file by your employer. If you believe there are hazardous conditions or violations, you have the right to request that OSHA inspect your workplace. You may also request copies of tests done to identify any hazards. If you file a written complaint, you also have the right to request that your name not be released to your employer and your employer may not take any retaliatory action against you for filing the complaint. Your employer is also required to provide you with records of work-related illnesses or injuries.
Duties of Employers
In addition to the rights provided to employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are required to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards. They must also confirm that employees have and are using proper safety tools and equipment. An official OSHA poster describing employee rights must be prominently displayed. Employers must also provide a written program regarding labeling, material safety data sheets and documents all employee training. The training must also be provided in a language the employees can understand. This means if a large percentage of the workforce speaks a language other than English, the program must be available in the employee’s native language. Employers must also inform employees of the existence, location and availability of records related to medical conditions or exposure. Those records must be provided upon request.
After an OSHA Inspection
In some cases, an employer may not correct issues discovered during an OSHA investigation. If this should occur at your workplace, you have the right to contact OSHA and file a written complaint. During the inspection, a workers’ representative has the right to accompany the compliance officer. If the employees have a union, the union may choose the workers’ representatives. If there is no union, the representative must be chosen by the employees. An employer may not choose the representative.
If you or a loved one have been injured on a construction site and you believe the workplace violated OSHA regulations, contact Lundy law today to learn what rights you may have. You can arrange for an initial consultation by calling 1-800-Lundy Law or by completing the query form on our website.