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How does OSHA protect workers?

Until 1970, many workers throughout the United States found themselves working in potentially hazardous conditions. There were no laws in rules in place to keep workers safe from dangerous working conditions. Whether you were working in a mine, a factory dealing with hazardous chemicals, or on a construction site with large machinery and heavy supplies, there always was a significant risk of injury, illness or even death. In 1970, the United States government passed the Occupational Health and Safety Act and formed the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, also known as OSHA, under the United States Department of Labor.

The administration's goals are to assure a safe working environment for everyone working in the country. It does this by creating strict regulations for employers and to offer specific rights for workers. Workers in the United States have the right to be trained in workplace safety to be given any and all necessary safety gear by their employer at no cost. These could include gloves, helmets and harnesses or whatever safety accessories are necessary to minimize the chance of a workplace injury or illness.

In addition, workers have the right to, at any time, request an OSHA inspection, and to speak with the inspector during the investigation into potential workplace hazards. Workers also have the right to obtain reports of any and all injuries or illnesses that took place at a worksite, and to obtain their own medical records in the event of an accident or illness. They also have the right to obtain copies of test results. They also will receive whistleblower protections, meaning that employers may not retaliate against an employee for having filed a claim.

If you have been involved in a workplace accident and feel that you should be entitled to workers' compensation, you may want to reach out to a local firm that handles workplace injuries for guidance. IT could make a substantial difference in obtaining the compensation you deserve for medical costs and lost wages related to your injury.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Occupational Safety and Health Administration," Accessed on July 6, 2017

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