First and foremost, as an Illinois employee you are entitled to a workplace that is safe. While safe is a relatively broad term that can be viewed differently in different work situations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration typically defines a safe workplace as one that does not put workers at risk of a workplace injury from a known or understood potential hazard. OSHA is also charged with writing and maintaining standards, as well as keeping workers and their employers informed of their rights and expectations.
According to OSHA, all workers must be given sufficiently clear information on all possible hazards that they may face while in their workplaces. This also includes providing information on how to avoid hazards. If employees are unsure of the safety standards, they may request information concerning injuries that have occurred at specific sites of employment.
If an employer is ignoring OSHA standards and putting employees into compromising positions, workers do have the right to make formal complaints to OSHA. If OSHA decides to inspect the job site, any employee can accompany the inspectors. Additionally, discrimination against anyone who makes an OSHA complaint is not tolerated.
Especially in traditionally hazardous occupations in Illinois — such as construction or factory work — even a small OSHA violation can result in a serious workplace injury. OSHA’s commitment to employee rights not only makes it possible for workers to complain before an accident occurs, but it also helps protect those who have been injured due to employer negligence. An OSHA inspection of a hazardous workplace can help strengthen an injured worker’s workers’ compensation benefits application, potentially securing the award of much-needed aid.
Source: FindLaw, “Workplace Safety: OSHA and OSH Act Overview“, Accessed on May 2, 2015