The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government agency tasked with ensuring that employees are provided a safe work environment. Employers are required to comply with all the OSHA standards that relate to their particular industry. In addition, employers must abide by the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act. This clause requires that employers provide employees a place to work that is free of serious recognized hazards.
Under OSHA Regulations, What Rights Do Workers Have?
Under the OSHA Act of 1970, employers are required to provide each employee with a safe, healthful workplace. This rule is designed to ensure that these conditions are provided to every individual working in America. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for setting and enforcing standards as well as for providing education, training, and other forms of occupational safety assistance.
- All information and training must be provided to the employee in a language that he or she can understand.
- Employees must be provided with the OSHA standards that relate to their workplace/industry.
- The employee is entitled to training that pertains to workplace hazards, including how to prevent them.
- A safe work environment that does not present a risk of serious harm.
- If an employee believes that his or her employer is not abiding by OSHA regulations, the employee can file a complaint requesting that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspect their workplace (OSHA keeps the identities of individuals who file complaints confidential).
- Employees can review the records of work-related illnesses and injuries.
Employees can exercise their rights without retaliation. These rights include reporting an injury as well as raising safety and health concerns about their workplace. In the event that an employee is retaliated against for exercising his or her rights, a complaint must be filed with OSHA no later than 30 days of the incident.
Occupational Safety and Health Standards: Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Section 1910.9 addresses an employee’s right to receive personal protective equipment when hazards demand such equipment. When PPE is not provided at a time when it should have been, the employer has committed a violation. A separate violation applies for each employee that is not provided with the proper personal protective equipment.
Personal Protective Equipment Training
The employer is required to provide personal protective equipment training to employees who could be affected by hazards and required to wear PPE. This training must include the proper techniques for applying each type of personal protective equipment that may need to be utilized. Learning these techniques is extremely important because if the equipment is not put on correctly, it is of no use.
All training must meet the standards as set forth by OSHA. If an employer fails to train an employee in the proper use of personal protective equipment, this is considered an Occupational Safety and Health Administration violation. Furthermore, each employee that does not receive PPE training is considered a separate violation.
Training topics include:
- When PPE should be used.
- PPE identification: How to choose the proper PPE equipment for the job.
- Steps for properly putting on, adjusting, wearing and removing PPE.
- How to care for PPE.
- The limitations of PPE.
- How to dispose of PPE.
Why Is PPE Important?
Personal protective equipment is worn to minimize an employee’s exposure to known hazards that can cause serious illness and injuries. Personal protective equipment is designed to prevent an employee from having contact with dangerous workplace hazards. These hazards may be chemical, electrical, mechanical, radioactive and/or physical.
What Types of PPE Are There?
The types of personal protective equipment an individual will use depends on the nature of his or her work.
Personal protective equipment examples include:
- Spectacles, face shields, visors and goggles
- Ear plugs/muffs
- Full body suits
- A respirator (either disposable, full-face or half-face)
- Hard hats or helmets
- Gloves and shoe covers
- Harnesses/Fall arrest devices
- Hats, long-sleeved shirts and sunscreen
- Steel toed boots/shoes
All personal protective equipment should fit comfortably and must fit correctly. For example, to be effective, a face mask must fit properly; otherwise, the employee is dangerously exposed.
If you have been injured at work and filed a workers’ compensation claim, you may still need an experienced attorney to assist you in attaining the full benefits that you deserve. The insurance companies are working in the best interest of the employer/company; therefore, settlement offers are typically extremely low. We can help determine how much of a settlement your injuries are worth. Do not accept any settlement amount until you have had your complimentary case review at the law office of Paul Giannetti. If you reside in or near Albany, New York, contact Paul Giannetti’s office today.