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What rights protect me from a work-related accident?

A safe workplace is more than just a good perk for employees in Illinois -- it's their right. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to comply with OSHA standards that, when implemented correctly, should protect workers. In many cases, proper safety precautions and open communication can help prevent a work-related accident from ever occurring.

Proper training is a must for workplace safety. Employees should be made aware of any possible chemicals they will be exposed to, given information regarding the possible health hazards and then trained on related safety precautions. Employees must also receive a copy of the safety and health standards that the employer follows so that they more clearly understand how they will be made aware of unexpected hazards, such as chemical spills or bloodborne pathogens.

Employees may also request information regarding OSHA standards, their rights and known job hazards. This information should all be readily available and easily accessed. Workers can also request that their employers take swift and appropriate action to correct safety violations or hazards. In some instances, workers can even request that hazards not in violation of OSHA standards be correct. It is usually a good idea to keep personal copies of requests made to employers, which can help if the problems are not addressed and workers must file a complaint to OSHA.

OSHA standards give Illinois workers the right to a safe workplace that is free from unnecessary hazards. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers to take shortcuts with safety, prioritizing their own bottom line over the health of their workers. If injured in a work-related accident, victims can file an OSHA complaint and seek workers' compensation benefits simultaneously. While the former should help address the initial violations that caused the accident, workers' comp provides necessary financial support for medical bills and lost wages while victims recover.

Source: FindLaw, "Workers' Rights Under OSHA", Accessed on Dec. 5, 2017

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