What Are Unsafe Working Conditions & Why Do They Matter?
The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that about 2.3 million workers around the world are victims of work-related accidents or diseases every year, corresponding to the whopping 6,000 deaths occurring every day across the globe. In the US, 5,333 workers died from work-related injuries in 2019, a 2% increase from the previous year. This alarming data shows that hazards in the workplace can have fatal and life-threatening outcomes if they’re not addressed properly.
Unfortunately, many federal US workers worry that if they report an unsafe or illegal workplace condition, they will get retaliated against by their employer. Retaliation is when an employer punishes an employee for expressing a concern or engaging in other legally protected activity, and such punishments include firing or laying off, demoting, denying benefits, denying overtime, making threats, and reducing hours.
With this in mind, it’s not surprising that countless federal workers fear retaliation by their employers for reporting a dangerous workplace hazard. Their jobs and livelihoods could be at stake. However, since thousands of workplace deaths occur every year in the US, it is critical to report these hazards, as it may save lives.
Common workplace hazards include:
- Insufficient training
- Defective equipment
- Lack of warnings about safety hazards
- Poor equipment maintenance
- Fire hazards
- Slippery and/or cluttered floors
- Dangerous stairways
- Bad lighting
- Lack of safety warning systems
- Biological hazards such as bacteria
- Poorly secured machinery and/or wires
- Exposure to chemical hazards such as acid, pesticides, flammable liquids, etc.
- Physical hazards such as radiation, extreme temperatures, or extensive exposure to elements such as noise and air pollutants
Whistleblower Protection Act
Fortunately, the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects current and former federal employees from retaliation as well as applicants for federal employment. State workers in California also receive protection from retaliation for reporting an improper activity under the California Whistleblower Protection Act.
As such, federal and CA state employees may file a complaint if they were retaliated against for exercising their rights. Reporting unsafe conditions should be a priority for employees, and employers should prioritize fixing those issues rather than treating their employees poorly for doing something beneficial.
Not All Employers Fix Unsafe Conditions. Employees Can Suffer as a Result.
Our Santa Ana workers’ compensation lawyer understands that unsafe or illegal conditions on the job can have fatal consequences. Even if you reported a danger to your employer, they may not resolve the issue promptly and/or may retaliate against you for doing the right thing. Unfortunately, many employers fail to exercise due diligence in trying to prevent or address hazards, resulting in pain, suffering, and worse, death for many employees.
As such, count on Ufkes & Bright to fight for compensation as a result of your accident, work-related illness, or injuries that developed over time at your job. To get started, call (714) 500-8661. We are your advocates every step of the way!