Workplace injuries can take place for many reasons, but there’s one cause that directly involves your employer: unsafe working conditions.
The term refers to the different precautions your employer must take to minimize potential risks, and depending on the industry you work in, they can be very varied:
- Safety training
- Current equipment maintenance
- Safety tests
- Proper working attire
- Establishing clear working procedures, etc.
In Missouri, all employers have a legal responsibility under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to ensure their workplaces follow the existing safety and health laws. Sadly, not everyone is so concerned with following the letter of the law, which can pose a great threat to workers. If you are working in unsafe conditions, you should report it.
Why You Should Report It?
You may feel like it’s not your responsibility to report unsafe working conditions. While you will not be penalized if you don’t, it’s in the best interest for you and everyone you work with to signal any wrongdoings at the workplace.
These violations are potentially placing you and everyone else working with you in danger of getting hurt. It’s not only a matter of holding your employer responsible to comply with federal law but also to make sure you are safe and don’t get injured while doing your job.
Moreover, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, there can be no repercussions for filing a complaint with OSHA. If you file a complaint, your employer cannot:
- Fire you
- Demote you
- Deny a promotion
- Make threats
- Deny benefits
- Intimidate you
- Reassign you without just cause
- Reduce your wages or work hours
How to File a Complaint
In Missouri, workers in the public sector must file a complaint with the state Department of Labor. You’ll have to fill the Workplace Safety Complaint Form, and someone from the department will review it and investigate your case.
Private sector workers, however, must file their complaints directly with OSHA, as this is the only body with direct jurisdiction in your case.
There are several ways to do it:
- Sending the OSHA complaint form to the local OSHA office. The form must be signed by a current worker or a representative, and are often followed up by an on-site inspection;
- Online on the OSHA website, where most likely OSHA representative will contact the employer by phone, and not conduct a live inspection first
- By phone – best in emergency situations, or if you have more questions about the process.
Your employer has the obligation to create a safe work environment, and if they don’t, you should report it. If you also got injured at work, reach out to a Missouri workers comp lawyer to see if you are eligible for compensation, or if you have other legal options against your employer. Call us 24/7 at (816) 399-3706.