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Dealing with unsafe work conditions

Employers in California are required by law to provide employees with safe working conditions. Workers who recognize hazardous conditions can report them to regulatory agencies, which also protect them from retaliation from their employer for doing so.

According to FindLaw, OSHA lays out a number of safety regulations that employers must follow. These include:

  • Providing safety training for specific jobs, tools or equipment
  • Providing a work environment that protects workers from serious injury or death
  • Recording hazardous exposures, injuries, illnesses and deaths
  • Posting safety notices for each job 

If an employee notes a hazard that does not pose immediate danger, they should let the employer know by putting it in writing. If the employer does not take action to get rid of the danger, the employee should file a complaint with OSHA. If the hazard presents immediate danger, the employee may refuse to return to work if the employer does not take the steps necessary to fix the problem. In this situation, OSHA still needs to be notified.

The California Department of Industrial Relations states that unsafe work conditions include not just hazardous physical conditions and exposure to chemicals but also poor security that can lead to violent acts to employees. To take steps to prevent violence from occurring, first the level of risk needs to be analyzed and then specific strategies need to be employed. Strategies may include providing security alarms or personnel, assigning escape routes and training employees how to deal with threats. Post-event measures should also be established so workers can appropriately deal with the traumatic event.

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