It is difficult to perform your job functions to the best of your ability when you are concerned about the health and safety standards of your workplace. Importantly, you have the right to expect that your employer will prevent any potentially dangerous accident from occurring while you are on the job. This is where the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) comes into play. Read on to discover whether you can get in trouble for reporting an OSHA violation and how a seasoned New York whistleblower protection lawyer at Bell Law Group can protect you from any retaliation.
What is OSHA?
Put simply, OSHA is a federal organization that offers support for employers and employees, all while enforcing strict safety standards that employers must follow and providing a means to report any violations for employees. This protection is offered to most public sector workers, private sector workers, construction workers, maritime workers, and agricultural workers in New York State.
More specifically, under the general duty clause of the OSH Act, employers must create a workplace environment that safeguards employees and reduces exposure to known hazards in the following ways:
- Employers must prevent extensive noise exposure on the worksite.
- Employers must prevent harmful substance exposure on the worksite.
- Employers must include safety guards on worksite machines and tools.
- Employers must provide fall protection equipment on the worksite.
- Employers must provide personal safety equipment on the worksite.
- Employers must provide training regarding hazards and protections on the worksite.
With that being said, as an OSHA-protected employee, you have the right to expect the following:
- You have the right to expect your employer follows OSHA safety standards.
- You have the right to expect your employer provides equipment that is safe to use.
- You have the right to expect your employer provides free protective equipment.
- You have the right to expect your employer provides training that is in a language you understand.
So, if you believe that there is a serious hazard in your workplace, then you have the right to file a confidential safety and health complaint. Ultimately, this will prompt an OSHA inspection of your workplace.
Can I receive consequences for reporting an OSHA violation?
You must understand that it is illegal for your employer to inflict consequences on you for reporting an OSHA violation. So, you should report your concerns without the fear of discipline, threats, termination, intimidation, reduce pay or hours, or denied overtime, benefits, or promotions.
But if you, unfortunately, get retaliated against for using your OSHA-protected rights, then you must file a whistleblower complaint. From here, OSHA will conduct a whistleblower investigation.
Importantly, you only have 30 days after the act of retaliation to file your whistleblower complaint. So, to ensure that you do not miss out on this opportunity, you must retain the services of a competent New York employee rights lawyer as soon as possible. Call us today.