Workers in New York have the legal right to work in a safe environment. If they see hazardous conditions, they also have the right to report these to OSHA and not face consequences from their employer. However, a number of employees are scared or hesitant to speak up, and this can lead to more serious problems down the road. It is important workers understand they can take action against their employer, and that it can lead to positive outcomes.
The Safety and Health Magazine discusses why some workers choose not to report injuries or unsafe conditions. Some employees do not report about a workplace injury because it seems small and insignificant. Others are afraid their employers will retaliate against them if OSHA becomes aware of the conditions that led to the injury. Workers are encouraged to tell their supervisor about hazardous situations or injuries, but when nothing is done, they have the right to go straight to OSHA and make a report. If doing so leads to a demotion or firing, the employee needs to file a complaint with OSHA.
How can the government help? OSHA Today talks about whistleblower protection and how it benefited a fired truck driver in New York. The driver’s complaint was investigated and he was found to be in the right. This resulted in the employer being ordered to pay for punitive damages, lost wages and attorney’s fees. Any worker who is being discriminated against due to an OSHA complaint needs to file a complaint within 30 days and be able to show proof.