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What to do if you suspect that your workplace is unsafe

There can be many instances in which a workplace may be unsafe and present a danger to both employees and the general public. This is especially true for construction sites, mines or factories. The law says that all employees should have the right to be able to raise safety concerns without fearing that they might lose their job or be otherwise retaliated against.

After raising safety concerns to your employer, the next step you should take is to request an inspection from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

What you should expect from an OSHA inspection

When an OSHA inspection is carried out, it may be conducted across the workplace as a whole, or it may focus more specifically on certain working procedures that may have been highlighted as a concern. The inspectors usually specialize in either health-related hazards or safety hazards.

OSHA only gives the employer in question an advance notice before conducting an inspection if they are believed to be presenting imminent dangers, or if they believe that the inspection will have to take place out of regular business hours or if they have reason to believe that the management will not be present.

It is important to remember that all employees have a right to have their workplaces inspected. You can do this by completing the OSHA complaint form on their website. If you believe that you have been retaliated against because you made a formal complaint about safety or because you requested an inspection, you have the right to stand up for your workers' rights.

Source: OSHA, "The OSHA Inspection: A Step-by-Step Guide," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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