It is the objective of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (commonly known as OSHA) to ensure that working conditions across the country are safe, but not every warehouse and factory is full of OSHA investigators to double check that every guideline is met with compliance. In a shocking statistic, OSHA reported that 5,250 workers died on the job in 2018. That is the equivalent of over 100 deaths a week, or 14 deaths happening every day. Of these deaths, 1 in every 5 occurred in the field of construction. These numbers are the horrifying truth. Whether the cause of these tragedies is freak accident or a company compromising in the name of maximized profits, not every ‘i’ can be dotted and ‘t’ crossed.
Thankfully, OSHA provides a safe and anonymous way to report your company should you find the conditions of your employment result in situations that jeopardize your safety or the safety of your co-workers. Employees have the option of filing an online complaint form that will be reviewed by an OSHA employee. Just be sure to check the box asking that your name be withheld from your employing company if you wish to remain anonymous.
As a first step when met with conditions that are not immediately life-threatening, an employee should attempt to first bring the hazardous conditions to the attention of his immediate supervisor. If a situation or working condition is so severe as to make you fear for your imminent safety, and there is not sufficient time to warn your superiors, you have the legal right to refuse to work or perform tasks associated with the unsafe condition.  Whichever route you choose to report the safety conditions at your job, the goal is to always bring the conditions back into keeping with OSHA guidelines and prevent injury to yourself or others.
Here are a few examples of what to look out for on the job to avoid injury:
- Lack of appropriate safety equipment
- Missing safety guards on machinery
- Lack of/insufficient employee training
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Unaddressed maintenance issues
- Blocked, wet, and slippery walkways
- Blocked safety exits
It is understandably a serious concern that reporting negligently maintained working conditions could result in retaliation from an employer. However, OSHA accepts reports of incidences of such behavior within one month of the incident, as this is against federal and state law. Retaliation includes acts such as demotion, firing, disciplinary action, denying benefits, and other forms of punishment. These incidences can be filed online here. As Alabama follows the federal OSHA plan, all complaints of retaliation may be made directly to OSHA.
Alabama has two OSHA offices:
|Birmingham area office||Mobile area office|
|Medical Forum Building||1141 Montlimar Drive,|
|950 22nd Street North,||Suite 1006,|
|Mobile, AL 36609||Birmingham, AL 35203|
|(251) 441-6131||(205) 731-1534|
If you are hurt on the job due to unsafe working conditions, seek legal counsel, as you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
As we have since 1967, we will continue to protect the legal rights of our clients – those who are hurt on the job while working for Alabama employers. If you have been injured on the job and want to learn your rights, please consider contacting the Nomberg Law Firm. Our office number is 205-255-1270 and website www.nomberglaw.com. Our office is located in Birmingham, Alabama. We handle cases throughout our great State.
Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. In 2019, Bernard was named a Super Lawyer for the 7th year in a row.