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What should I do if I think my Connecticut workplace is unsafe?

Connecticut workers want to go to work in a safe environment, and the law requires that they have this right. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers must provide working conditions without known dangers for their employees. Unfortunately, however, sometimes safety hazards exist, and a worker may be concerned that there is a risk that he or she might be injured in an accident at work due to the working conditions. What should a worker in this situation do?

If a person believes he or she is working in an unsafe working environment, the worker, or his or her representative, may file a complaint. The worker can request that OSHA not tell the employer who specifically filed the complaint. In the complaint, a worker will request that OSHA inspect the workplace for safety hazards and compliance with OSHA's safety standards.

Some complaints may be resolved via a telephone conversation with the employer. Other complaints may lead to an onsite inspection. If an inspection results, a worker, or the worker's representative, may observe the inspection, talk with the OSHA inspector without the employer present, and meet with the inspector and employer both before and after the inspection occurs.

If an inspector finds OSHA standards violations and issues citations or fines, a worker may challenge the deadline set for resolution of the problem. If the inspector does not issue a citation, the worker who submitted the complaint and requested the inspection can find out the results of the inspection and request that it be reviewed.

A worker may be nervous about making a complaint against his or her employer for fear of retaliation, but it is an OSHA violation for an employer to penalize an employee who files a complaint by firing, transferring or demoting the employee. It is important that workers are not working in conditions in which they are fearful of accidents. The OSHA process provides a resource for workers to help ensure that their working conditions are safe and that any potential safety hazards are reviewed and resolved.

Source: OSHA.gov, "Occupational Safety and Health Administration: We Can Help," accessed June 12, 2015

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