I'm a construction worker, and I think my employer is not following OSHA standards. I don't want someone to get hurt. What should I do?

 

A:

It is extremely admirable and important that you are so concerned about safety conditions on the job. Construction is a very rewarding profession, but it certainly comes with extreme physical hazards if safety regulations are not followed. 

It is not just a luxury to have a safe workplace; it is the law. Under The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers must provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. OSHA enforces these standards and also provides information, training, and assistance to workers and employers. If you think your employer is not following OSHA standards, you have the right to file a complaint and request that your workplace be inspected. Some people don't do this because they are afraid they will get in trouble with their employer, but it's important to know that your employer cannot fire, demote, transfer, or discriminate against you in any way for filing that complaint. You are also more than welcome to request that your complaint be filed anonymously and your employer will never need to know that it was you. Don't let people get away with allowing their employees to work in unsafe conditions and situations. 

When OSHA arrives at your work site, you are also invited to go along on the inspection, talk privately with the OSHA inspector and even take part in meetings with the inspector and the employer before and after the inspection is conducted. 

If your employer is violating safety regulations, they may face citations and fines, but in the end you're doing them and your co-workers a big favor. Paying fines will not make them happy, but it's a much better alternative to someone getting injured or even killed and the employer facing a huge lawsuit down the road. 

If you have been injured in a construction accident, contact Austin attorney Earl Straight for a free consultation at 512-454-1331.