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OSHA Basics For The North Carolina Worker

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 4,383 workers were killed at work last year. Since the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s inception in 1970, workplace deaths have been cut by more than 65 percent — from 38 deaths a day in 1970 to 12 a day in 2012.   

If you work in North Carolina, you have the right to a safe workplace under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. In addition to creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal law requires employers to provide its employees with work conditions free of known dangerous circumstances. 

Who is covered? 

Through federal OSHA or OSHA-approved state agencies, OSHA covers private employers and employees across the United States. State and local government workers are covered by occupational safety and health act protections if they work in states that have OSHA-approved state programs. Federal agencies are obligated to have a safety and health program comparable to OSHA’s program for private employers. Self-employed and immediate family members of farm employers that do not hire from the outside are not covered by OSHA. 

Workers’ rights 

OSHA regulations state that workers are entitled to a workplace free of risk of serious harm. To accomplish this, OSHA empowers workers with the following rights:

  • Invite OSHA to review their workplace.
  • Exercise their legal rights without suffering retaliation.
  • Receive educational material and training about hazards and methods to prevent harm.
  • Examine test results.
  • Analyze records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Access personal medical records. 

Employer’s obligations 

The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 requires employers to make positive steps to follow OSHA’s standards and create a safe environment. The employer’s obligations include:

  • Informing employees about hazards through training, informational sheets and other methods
  • Performing tests in the workplace
  • Maintaining accurate records of illnesses and injuries
  • Providing hearing exams and other medical tests
  • Informing OSHA within eight hours of a workplace incident involving a death or three workers requiring hospital treatment
  • Posting OSHA citations 

In total, OSHA requires employers to eliminate hazards by modifying working conditions instead of just supplying masks, ear plugs and other personal protective equipment. 

If you suspect that your employer places you and other workers at risk of serious injury in violation of OSHA, contact the workplace accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Brian deBrun PLLC. We have been serving Charlotte for more than 50 years.

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