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What regulations address unsafe working conditions?

Individuals in West Virginia and elsewhere often rely on their jobs to meet their financial needs. Being injured or made ill on the job can seriously disrupt a person's ability to maintain an income. Because there is a vast array of work industries, there is an endless list of risks and concerns when it comes to workplaces across the nation. Thus, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed rules and regulations to help injured workers and to protect their rights in this situation.

What regulations address workplace safety and employment rights? Based on OSHA published reports, 29 C.F.R. 1904.35 at sections (b)(1)(i) and (iv) provide the explicit requirement for employers to have a procedure in place for employees to report any work-related injuries and illnesses suffered. Additionally, this also prohibits the retaliation against employees for reporting such events.

In order for an employee to establish a violation of this regulation, an employee must show that an employer either lacked a procedure to report such occurrences or the procedure in place by an employer was unreasonable. Based on this regulation, it would be unreasonable if the procedure is unduly burdensome and deters an employee from reporting an injury or illness occurring in the workplace.

Additionally, the other section discussed prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for reporting an injury or illness caused in the work environment. The elements of this situation include the employee reporting a work-related injury or illness, an employer taking adverse action against an employee and this adverse action being related to the report of a work-related injury or illness.

While these regulations help and address concerns related to unsafe work conditions and an employee suffering a work injury or illness, these regulations were devised to help an employee with reporting an injury or illness and helping them recover the benefits owed to them. By being able to timely and properly report a work injury or illness, an employee could pursue benefits such as workers' compensation. This could help the worker offset damages such as medical bills and lost wages.

Source: Osha.gov, "Interpretation of 1904.35(b)(1)(i) and (iv)," Oct. 19, 2016

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