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Employee Health and Safety

Federal and state laws have given employees the right to refuse dangerous work and receive accurate reports concerning toxic substances at their work place. Employees are protected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against unsafe working conditions. In some states, the employee has the right to refuse to work even if the harm is not life threatening. To find out about their state's laws, employees should contact their state labor department.

Unsafe working conditions resulting in imminent danger include:

  • Performing work at the work place that poses a real danger of death or serious physical injury.
  • Employer’s refusal to correct the problem and make the working conditions safe.
  • There isn't enough time to eliminate the existing danger through other means, such as requesting an OSHA inspection.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) assures the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.

Who is covered: Nearly every working man and woman in the nation comes under OSHA jurisdiction, with some exceptions ( e.g., miners, transportation workers, many public employees, and the self-employed). Other users and recipients of OSHA services include: occupational safety and health professionals, the academic community, lawyers, journalists, and personnel of other government entities.

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