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Every workplace should be safe, but unfortunately, not all can claim that. Workers injured at work should be able to report unsafe working environments without fear of reprisal. The Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys at Parsons Law Group can help you if you need to report an unsafe working environment or handle the consequences if you are injured on the job.

The Real Impact of Unsafe Working Conditions

Unfortunately, workplace accidents are all too common. According to the National Safety Council, in 2022 4,530,000 workers were injured on the job and required medical attention, and there were 4,695 preventable work-related deaths. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace injuries are primarily due to: falls, hazardous construction, ladders, respiratory issues, scaffolding, industrial trucks, improper eye protection, and hazardous machinery.

Unsafe conditions not only physically harm employees but can also affect their psychological health, reducing productivity and job satisfaction. Workers who feel like they are risking injury or death are more 

Understanding Your Rights to a Safe Workplace

According to the US Department of Labor, the enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act in 1970 sought to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.” It’s the job of OSHA to make sure workplaces are safe. They do that by enforcing federal laws that mandate safe workspaces, the use of proper safety equipment, and how hazardous materials are to be handled.

Additionally, each state has its own laws related to workplace safety. In some industries, such as agriculture, health and safety comes under the purview of the state’s Department of Labor. 

Steps to Properly Report Unsafe Working Conditions

If you are working in unsafe conditions you need to report it to your employer. If the unsafe situation isn’t corrected, the next step is to report it to OSHA. There are several ways to do that, and anonymity can be maintained:

  • A complaint can be filed along with a request for OSHA to inspect the situation at the workplace, and it can be anonymous
  • Also, you can download the form and mail or fax it to the nearest OSHA office

A formal written complaint, signed and submitted to OSHA should result in a visit from OSHA for an onsite inspection. During the inspection, workers have the right to accompany the OSHA inspector and talk privately with him or her. 

Protections Against Retaliation: Understanding Whistleblower Laws

OSHA offers protections for workers who report unsafe conditions, known as whistleblower protections. These protections prevent retaliation, such as discrimination, harassment, demotion, and wrongful termination. OSHA offers an online resource to assist in reporting, which cannot be done anonymously.

By law, there are four elements to a whistleblower complaint:

  • The worker engaged in activity protected by whistleblower laws
  • The employer suspected or knew about the protected activity
  • The worker’s protected activity was known to the employer
  • It caused the employer to take adverse action (harassment, demotion, etc.)

All of these factors must be in place to show retaliation.

Contact Our Atlanta and Savannah Attorneys If You Are Injured at Work

Once you have been injured at work, you will need to engage an attorney who understands workers’ compensation laws. There is a one-year statute of limitations for reporting the injury, and more importantly, treatment should begin right away for a full recovery. Call us today. We can help.