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How do I know if my workplace violates OSHA regulations?

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor protects American workers' right to work environment where they are unlikely to be seriously hurt or killed by a known hazard. To that end, OSHA has regulations and standards in place that outline safety requirements for various types of workplaces, including construction, general industrial, agricultural and maritime work sites. 

In general, employers are required to warn employees of hazards in the workplace by providing adequate training and information, and by having alarms, color-coded warning systems and other precautions in place to prevent accidents and injuries. Specific regulations for construction sites and other types of workplaces can be found on the on the OSHA web site

If you're a worker who suspects that your employer may be violating OSHA standards, you have a right to request an inspection. Employers are not allowed to penalize you in any way for requesting an inspection. If you want to file a complaint and are concerned that your employer might retaliate anyway, you can request that OSHA not disclose your identity. You can file a complaint by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). You can also file your complaint online or by mail or fax.

Complaints don't always result in an OSHA inspection. But when they do, you have the right to speak to the OSHA investigator, and also to accompany him or her on during the inspection. 

Filing an OSHA complaint could be beneficial for all the workers on your site if an inspection leads to safer working conditions for everyone. While accidents can and do happen even on work sites that are technically safe, having an OSHA-compliant work site could help prevent unnecessary accidents that could lead to debilitating injury and even death. 


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