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Speaking Up About Dangers on the Job

Posted on in Employment

San Jose whistleblower protection lawyerThroughout the month of August, a federal government agency is kicking off events across the United States to promote safer practices in the workplace. It is part of a year-long program to make employers and their workers more aware of dangers that exist and to initiate policies to help prevent future accidents from occurring. Despite these efforts, there are still plenty of places that discourage workers from reporting injuries and require them to take unnecessary risks as a daily part of their job. For individuals such as these, it is important to be aware of the whistleblower protections that are in place.

OSHA Recommends Practices to Keep Workers Safe and Sound

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be working with employers in the Bay Area and across the country this month to help create safer conditions in the workplace. As part of its Safe + Sound program, the goal is to raise awareness, increase compliance with state and national safety regulations, and decrease the potential for on-the-job accidents and injuries. More than 60 employers throughout California have partnered with the agency to focus on the following objectives: 

  • To establish worker safety as a core value of their company;

  • To provide workers with adequate training and safety gear;

  • To identify hazards and educate workers on steps to reduce their risks;

  • To implement a reporting system for identifying dangers;

  • To reduce the common causes of on-the-job accidents and injuries; and

  • To ensure employees report accidents, injuries, and occupational illnesses when they occur.

While much of the program focuses on protecting workers, there are financial motivations for employers to participate. Identifying hazards reduces costs associated with worker injuries, increases overall productivity, and reduces the likelihood of fines for failure to comply with safety regulations.

Speaking Out About Dangers

While there are numerous companies participating in the OSHA Safe + Sound program, only a handful are in the Bay Area. Addressing safety issues, providing more in-depth training, and opting for safer alternatives to dangerous substances and procedures can be costly. Some employers would prefer to just maintain the status quo. In these cases, it is important for employees to be aware of the laws in place to protect themselves against being penalized for speaking up. 

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) advises that whistleblowers are a class of workers who chose to notify government agencies or law enforcement of potential dangers or illegal practices that occur on job sites. In cases where an employee does speak up, their employers are prohibited from doing any of the following: 

  • Implementing policies to prevent them from speaking out;

  • Subjecting them to intimidation or harassment on the job site;

  • Firing, demoting, or cutting their hours; and

  • Withholding pay or other benefits.

Contact a San Jose Attorney for Assistance

If you have concerns about safety on the job site, the Jachimowicz Law Group can protect you in speaking up about it. Call 408-246-5500 or contact our skilled San Jose employment law attorneys online and request a free consultation to discuss your rights and the best course of action today.  

Sources:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/WhistleblowersNotice.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek/

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