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Virtually every workplace involves some measure of safety to ensure that employees remain healthy and avoid injuries while they work. Even an office setting requires that employees have a safe place to work that will not result in illness or repetitive strains while they sit at a desk. Other workplaces, such as those found in the construction industry, carry more risks for employees. Completing a remodeling job or performing home improvement can involve working with dangerous equipment in risky environments. By learning about requirements and codes for personal safety and knowing how to report violations on construction sites, you can keep yourself safer while you work.
Ensuring Personal Health & Safety
Everyone has responsibilities for ensuring health and safety in the workplace. Employers and management must adhere to OSHA regulations as they create workplace environments, make rules of conduct and provide equipment for employees to use. Employees must follow safety rules and guidelines instituted by employers. For example, on a construction site, everyone must wear a hard hat to protect against injury. Violating this rule could result in personal injury from accidents. Training is another important component of workplace safety. Employers must provide comprehensive training for employees, and employees must use the training to learn important rules and regulations for performing duties safely.
How to Report Violations
OSHA has a system in place that enables employees to report safety violations. If you have experienced a serious hazard in the workplace, or you believe that your employer is violating OSHA standards, you can file a complaint. OSHA enables employees to file complaints online, by fax, by mail or over the phone. Submitting a complaint will usually result in an OSHA inspection of the workplace to discover any violations. The employer will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint. After the review, OSHA will either close the case or determine the correct course of action to resolve the issues.
- Worker's Rights (PDF) - The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has compiled a booklet that outlines worker rights to protect employees while they work.
- Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor - The U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing federal employment laws regarding workplace activities.
- OSHA and Workplace Safety - When employees learn about their rights, they can help keep themselves safer in the workplace.
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- Lab Worker's Resources - The National Institutes of Health provides an overview of training and safety measures in place for lab workers.
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- OSHA Offers New Resources on Preventing Roof Falls - The National Safety Council shares links to OSHA publications about construction employees working on roofs.
- Safety in the Construction Industry - The National Association of Home Builders provides an overview of safety training to help construction workers maintain workplace safety.
- Heat Stress in the Workplace - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information and guidance to help employees avoid illness from excessive temperatures while working.
- FAA/OSHA Aviation Safety and Health Team (PDF) - Various federal administrations work together to keep employees working in the aviation industry safe.
- What is OSHA? - Learn about OSHA and the regulations it enforces to keep workers safe.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - This webpage explains the purpose and operation of OSHA with details about record-keeping requirements and workplace standards.
- Safety at Work - The National Safety Council works in cooperation with OSHA to train employers and employees about workplace safety.
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- Your Right to a Safe Work Environment - A nurse shares the story of her own needlestick injury to help other nurses learn about workplace safety.
- It's Official: Random Inspections Improve Workplace Safety - The American Association for the Advancement of Science reports on the efficacy of random inspections in the workplace for improving employee safety.
- Right-to-Work Laws and Fatalities in Construction (PDF) - With the high incidence of fatalities that occur within the construction industry, this report explores a correlation between these fatalities and right-to-work laws.
- Workplace Safety Is No Accident Online Quiz - Take an online quiz to see how much you know about workplace safety guidelines.
- Workplace Safety Tied to Job Security - The American Psychological Association explores a correlation between workplace safety and job security.