Some jobs come with more inherent risks than others, but that does not mean employers or regulators get to take shortcuts. Every worker in California deserves a workplace that is made as safe as possible, given the nature of the occupation or tasks in question. However, there are times when employers allow unsafe work environments to persist to the detriment of workers’ health.
What an Unsafe Workplace Can Look Like
No two work environments are exactly alike, and what makes one work environment unsafe may not necessarily apply to another type of work environment. However, the following are some examples of unsafe working conditions:
- Inadequate or malfunctioning warning systems, including fire suppression systems
- Floors with debris or slippery surfaces that create slip or trip and fall hazards
- Blocked safety exits
- Unsanitary working conditions that increase the likelihood of illness
- Failing to have safety guards around tools or unsafe areas
- Hazardous materials or equipment that are not stored or used properly
Often, unsafe work environments are created due to the failure of an employer to conduct regular maintenance on the workplace area. This can include routine cleaning and repairs of equipment.
Work environments can also be considered unsafe as a result of illegal or dangerous work conditions. This can include the failure to provide personal protective equipment that employees need to complete their job requirements. This can also include sending individuals into situations in which they have not received proper training or preparation.
Additionally, workplaces that allow employees to use or consume drugs or alcohol or that allow employees to show up inebriated are considered dangerous.
Can You File a Complaint?
You may need to file a complaint if you have concerns about an unsafe work environment. In California, these complaints are made through Cal/OSHA. When you make a complaint through the state, the names of any complainants are kept confidential.
Additionally, individuals can file a complaint through the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ask for an inspection, but filing a complaint with Cal/OSHA should be the first step.
Do You Need Help From an Attorney?
If you have been harmed due to an unsafe work environment, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney today. A work injury lawyer in Long Beach can examine the facts of your case and help you take the steps needed to recover workers compensation. Insurance carriers and employers can put up roadblocks to recovering fair compensation after an on-the-job injury, particularly if the incident occurred as a result of an unsafe work environment. Let an attorney handle communication with all parties involved to help you move forward.
If you have raised your workplace safety concerns with your employer but have been disregarded, you may need to file a report with Cal/OSHA, but also speak to an employee rights lawyer who can help you if you experience any retaliation for raising your concerns. Individuals harmed due to an unsafe work environment may be able to recover various types of compensation, either through a workers’ compensation claim or as a result of a personal injury lawsuit filed against a negligent party involved.