Most people in California know that the workers’ compensation system is in place to help workers who are injured on the job.
What about their rights that should, in theory, help prevent on the job injuries to begin with?
As the website for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration points out, workers have rights under federal law that are meant to protect them, not to mention protections under state law. For example, a simple requirement basically says it all: employers are required to keep workplaces free of safety and health hazards. But, there is more to it than that.
How should employers keep your workplace safe? Well, for starters, employees should receive all of their safety and health training in a language they understand and should receive the appropriate safety equipment for the jobs they are required to complete.
Next, if any machines are in the workplace, those machines must be safe to operate. If there are toxic chemicals in the workplace, workers should receive training on how those materials are handled, stored or cleaned up, for instance. Workers also have the right to review any reports about illnesses or injuries that have occurred in the workplace. There are several other legal protections as well.
What if you are concerned that speaking up about safety or health hazards might get you into trouble with your employer?
Here’s the important part: federal law protects employees against retaliation for expressing safety or health concerns, or otherwise exercising these or any other rights that workers have in California. And, if an on-the-job injury or illness does occur, most employees have the right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.