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What are my rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act?

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act became law in 1970. It was created to increase worker safety in the United States by preventing serious and fatal on-the-job accidents. Under the OSH Act, employers must ensure that their employees are working in environments free of known dangers.

The OSH Act created its enforcement arm, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This organization writes and enforces special standards to ensure workplace safety. OSHA also offers assistance and training to both workers and their employers.

Under the OSH Act, workers have important rights and privileges. These rights include the right to:

-- Confidentially file an OSHA complaint to have a workplace investigated.

-- Be trained and receive information (in a language the worker understands) about ways to prevent injuries, avoid hazards and to learn about OSHA rules.

-- Review the history of work-caused injuries at a workplace.

-- Receive the results of OSHA investigations on a specific workplace.

-- Receive copies of medical records pertaining to a workplace.

-- Speak privately with OSHA inspectors.

-- File a complaint if retaliation for requesting an inspection occurs.

-- File a complaint if retaliation for being a whistleblower occurs.

No unsafe job can be considered a "good job." OSHA's goal is to protect the safety of workers throughout the United States. If you feel that you were hurt on the job because your safety was being jeopardized -- due to unsafe conditions or for any other reason -- you might want to reach out to a lawyer familiar with workers' compensation law and personal injury law.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Workers' Rights," accessed March 24, 2017

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