Accidents can happen at any job, but your employer has responsibilities that should protect you from many types of workplace injuries.
Here are some of your employer’s duties, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Follow safety rules
Rules and regulations set by OSHA address specific responsibilities your employer has to keep you and your co-workers safe. These include:
- Preventing dangerous noise exposure
- Preventing exposure to dangerous substances
- Putting guards on equipment and machines
- Training workers about hazards and protective measures
Your employer may not be able to entirely eliminate noise, remove all hazardous substances from the work environment or allow all workers to remain at ground level. OSHA has standards for the levels of exposure and the type of equipment necessary for protection. Earplugs, respirators and fall protection equipment may lower the dangers to a reasonable level.
How can workers know exactly what to expect from their employer? You should see an official OSHA poster about job safety in a prominent place at your work; posting this is your employer’s responsibility. You should also receive information about all the hazards you may encounter in your workplace and how you can protect yourself from injury and illness. This includes training programs, warning signs, signals and color-coding to identify the dangers.
Your employer should test the environment if workers are at risk of exposure to harmful substances. You have a right to see the results of these tests. If there are hazardous chemicals in your workplace, you should receive training in a language and vocabulary that is easy for you to understand. Your employer should ensure proper labeling of every substance and provide Safety Data Sheets for each.
Other rules and regulations may apply, depending on the industry and hazards. Construction, maritime and agriculture industries have their own OSHA standards because of the high levels of risk.