Safety Standards in the Workplace

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Most Common Employment Law Issues:

Is My Employer Liable to Me if He/She Fails to Meet Certain Safety Standards?

Yes. Your employer is liable for any personal injuries that you suffer while within the course and scope of your employment if the employer is negligent or fails to meet certain safety standards.

Your employer, as either the owner or the occupant of the premises in which you work, is responsible for maintaining a safe work environment to anyone who works there, whether they are independent contractors or employees of the company itself.  

Your employer's liability to you, however, will normally only extend to the portion of the premises where you are required to be for the purposes of your job.  Their liability may also be limited if they have already warned you about the particular safety hazard that injured you.  In some cases, once your employer has warned you of a danger, he/she is no longer responsible for your injury if you ignore the warning. 

What Does my Employer Have to Do to Meet Safety Standards?

An employer generally owes to its employees a number of duties.  These include the duty to provide a safe place to work and safe equipment, appliances, and tools to do so.  An employer will also usually owe to its employees a duty to warn an employee about any dangers that he/she might not be aware of, to provide adequate and suitable fellow employees, and to make and enforce rules that govern the conduct of all the employees.   

While an your employer will not be liable to you for every possible work-related injury, if your injury is the result of any failure to meet safety standards, then your claim against your employer will be a valid one. 

How Do I Know What Standards are Applicable to My Workplace?

Though the safety standards laws will vary from state to state, these rules are most commonly based upon the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which ensures that all employees are provided with a safe work environment.  The safety standards outlined by OSHA are usually the standards to which most employers will be held.  

If I have a Workplace Safety Issue, Do I need an Attorney?

Workplace safety laws are complicated and can vary from state to state.  If you are concerned about your health and safety on the job, you should contact an employment lawyer.  An experienced employment lawyer will have knowledge of the safety laws in your particular area of work and be able to advise you of your rights and how you can assert and protect them. 

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Last Modified: 02-08-2012 12:13 PM PST

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