Last week's blog post discussed employers' responsibilities as they relate to OSHA regulations. These regulations are meant to uphold certain standards to ensure workplace safety. Though many employers adhere to these requirements, many others fail to do so for a variety of reasons. Sometimes an employer is uninformed, sometimes it tries to cut costs by sacrificing safety, and sometimes an employer just outright refuses to comply with safety standards. When this happens, you could be put at serious risk of harm, the results of which could be devastating.
If people work in the state of Massachusetts, or any other state for that matter, then they are likely protected by regulations created and enforced by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, also known as OSHA. This agency creates responsibilities that employers must abide by in order to ensure their workers are kept safe. Failure to do so could result in fines, but also significant harm to employees.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) investigates in two ways: off-site and on-site. You are free to file a claim at any time, however, if you want an on-site OSHA investigation of your place of employment, then one of a list of criteria must be met. Amongst these criteria are a signed complaint that satisfactorily illustrates that a violation or danger threatens the physical safety of employees, a claim that alleges that physical injury has been suffered and the hazard that caused it still exists, a report that imminent danger exists, the employer against which a claim has been filed has a history of OSHA violations within the previous three years, and a claim that is referred from a whistle blower investigation, amongst others.
No company should be allowed to place profits above the safety of its workers. Recently, Progressive Gourmet Inc., a wholesale food manufacturer with a facility in Wilmington, Massachusetts, was issued a number of violations following an inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Reportedly, the investigation was prompted by a number of complaints the agency received from employees. These employees may have been concerned about suffering a work related injury due to the unsafe conditions of the plant.