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Questions about OSHA Laws

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.” If you have questions about OSHA and how it affects your workplace, Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer can help you. Listed below are a few questions answered by the Lawyers on problems related to OSHA.

I work in a school, cleaning the building on the second shift, and some of the hallways are almost completely dark. The school district wants to leave only the security lights on after school and turn off all the hallway lights. Can you tell me what the OSHA requirements for lighting a public school are?

Under OSHA, adequate lighting is important. The regulation states, “All means of access and walkways leading to working areas as well as the working areas themselves shall be adequately illuminated.”

This is regulation # 29 CFR 1915.92(a) and can be found at this link:
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10244

My wife fell at a store that has an outdoor area with curbs. The curbs are not marked with yellow paint to make them noticeable to the public and hence, prevent accidents. Under OSHA, do curbs need to be painted yellow?

OSHA does have a color called OSHA RED but in this case, state and local laws and ordinances are responsible for determining what color curbs should be. Regulating the color of the curbs would be up to the state traffic and parking authority.

An employer insists that employees take OSHA safety classes outside of company time. The classes are required to be taken in order to work in the oil and gas industry. The employer is paying the tuition and says that employment will be terminated if the classes are not completed by the employees by a certain date. Can an employer do this?

If the training is only mandated by the employer and not by law, the employer would have to allow employees to do it on company time. However, if the training is required to be taken to gain employment within the industry as a whole, the employer does not need to be responsible for paying the employee to undergo the training.

Also, it is possible for the employer to fire the employee if the training is not completed, since the training sounds like an OSHA requirement. Even if it wasn’t an OSHA requirement, as long as the employee is not covered by an employment contract or company policy, his/her employment can be terminated without notice or warning.

In California, can a company be fined by OSHA if something happens to an unpaid volunteer working in the organization?

OSHA regulations have been designed to safeguard all individuals who work at a workplace, irrespective of whether they are volunteers or paid employees. These regulations have been put into place for safety reasons. If a particular work environment is hazardous, these laws will protect the individuals who work there and give them the right to pursue a claim against the company. If you have a specific complaint and want more legal information, get in touch with Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer for further legal inputs.

My employer is upset with me since I notified OSHA of many rule violations last week. The organization feels that OSHA could shut down the business and it would be my fault. As a result, my co-workers don’t talk to me, and I am being treated unfairly. I would need to move states to find alternate employment and probably still have my job now only because they can’t find a replacement. My workplace has become very unpleasant to work in. What can I do?

OSHA protects employees for reporting violations and, among other things, from intimidation. If you would like to know what your rights as a whistleblower are, you can visit http://www.osha.gov/dep/oia/whistleblower/index.html

You can also file a formal complaint against your employer online or via telephone. If all else fails, based on violations you reported, OSHA can help you claim constructive termination.

It is important that every employee feels safe in the environment that he/she works in. OSHA helps ensure this. Yet, it is crucial for both employers and employees to understand how OSHA works to create happy and safe workplaces. This is where Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer can help. Put your troubling questions to them about OSHA-related issues and get answers in the simplest and most affordable way.
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