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How to Deal With Unsafe Working Conditions

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Posted By KSK Law | May 30 2023 | Workers' Comp

Imagine stepping into your workplace, where instead of feeling secure and focused, you’re overwhelmed with the thought of potential dangers. You’ve become more vigilant of hazards than your actual tasks, and your well-being is at constant risk. This is the reality for workers facing unsafe conditions every day.

If you are employed at a workplace with unsafe working conditions, you may wonder what to do next. In these situations, you have the right to file a complaint or pursue a legal claim for any injuries that you sustained due to the hazard.

Examples of Unsafe Working Conditions

Employers must follow safety standards, respond to hazards, and keep the workplace safe. When a work environment becomes unreasonably dangerous to any person who is working on the premises, it is considered unsafe. 

Dangerous working conditions can present themselves in numerous ways, including:

  • Inadequate or malfunctioning warning systems: The absence or failure of warning systems can leave workers exposed to unforeseen hazards.
  • Faulty or poorly maintained equipment: Equipment in disrepair poses a significant risk to the safety of those using it.
  • Unsanitary conditions: An unclean workplace can lead to illnesses, sometimes even fatal ones.
  • Unsafe flooring: Debris, water, or slippery substances on floors can lead to slip-and-fall accidents.
  • Blocked safety exits: Obstructed safety exits can become a severe and life-threatening safety violation, especially in emergencies.
  • Lack of safety guards: Failing to install safety guards where necessary can leave workers vulnerable to injuries.
  • Hazardous materials: Inadequately handled hazardous materials can cause workers to suffer from injuries like chemical burns or develop serious illnesses.

Workers Have the Right to Refuse Dangerous Work

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers have the right to reject any work that they perceive as hazardous. Your employer cannot force or retaliate against you if you refuse to work in an environment that presents an imminent risk of death or serious injury. 

What to Do If You Encounter an Unsafe Work Environment

If you face unsafe working conditions, it’s crucial to act proactively and take the necessary steps to safeguard your rights. 

Report the Hazard to Your Employer

Firstly, it’s crucial to report the hazard to your employer. Employers bear the responsibility of maintaining a safe work environment and are thus obliged to correct any identified hazard. Always ensure that your concerns are documented; if possible, save all copies of communications with your employer about the hazard.

File an OSHA Complaint

If your employer neglects your concerns, fails to resolve the issue, or retaliates against you for making a report, you have the right to file a complaint with OSHA. This body is responsible for enforcing safety regulations in workplaces and can inspect the site to verify the complaint.

Speak to a Workplace Injury Attorney

Finally, if you sustain injuries due to unsafe working conditions, legal recourse may be an option. Legal claims involving workplace accidents can be very complex, and you’ll need to consider additional rules and regulations regarding your employer’s involvement. In these situations, it is important to seek the help of a Minnesota workplace injury attorney.

A lawyer who specializes in work-related claims can guide you through the process and fight to ensure that you are adequately compensated for any harm you sustained. Schedule a free consultation as soon as you can after the accident to strategize your next steps.

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