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Understanding OSHA's role in providing a safe workplace

In 1970, the Congress passed and President Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The act was passed to prevent workers from suffering injuries in accidents at work. The act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to administer the Act and enforce its mandatory safety provisions. OSHA has jurisdiction over work place conditions in Connecticut.

OSHA is empowered to establish minimum safety standards for all kinds of industries. The final regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations. OSHA inspectors conduct inspections of all kinds of work places to find violations of OSHA safety standards.

OSHA has the right to investigate any workplace accident that results in death or injury. OSHA is empowered to levy fines against employers when work conditions fail to meet OSHA standards. All employers are required to provide personal protective equipment at no cost to their employees, keep accurate records of work place injuries and illnesses and inform employees of hazards associated with their work.

OSHA has passed regulations giving employees certain rights, including the right to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious injury or death and access to information and training about workplace hazards. Most importantly, workers can file complaints with OSHA, if they believe that their employer has violate OSHA or failed to remedy a hazardous situation. Workers are authorized to file such complaints without suffering retaliation by the employer.

Anyone who has suffered a workplace injury or lost a loved one to an on-the-job accident may wish to consult an attorney who handles workplace accident claims. A conference with a knowledgeable lawyer can provide a helpful analysis of the facts and law that will govern the outcome of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering workers' compensation benefits or damages.

Source: OSHA.gov, "At-a-Glance OSHA," accessed on July 9, 2017

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