Federal law requires your employer to provide you a safe workplace in more ways than just one. Besides keeping you safe on the job, your employer also must keep your work environment free of discrimination and hostility. A healthy and safe workplace works for everyone – it helps both you and your company to thrive.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The federal government established the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 to guarantee you a safe and healthy workplace. Prior to the establishment of the act, companies might put employees at risk by exposing them to hazardous chemicals, substances or equipment without safety precautions in place. Under the Act, your work environment must be free of dangers. OSHA sets the standards and the guidelines and enforces them under the codices of the 1970 law.
Personal Protection Equipment
A job that exposes you to unavoidable hazardous chemicals or situations requires you to use personal protection equipment under OSHA standards. Job demands determine the need for personal protection equipment as outlined by OSHA. For example, manufacturing jobs typically require the use of safety glasses, steel-toed shoes, special gloves and hard-hats.
More than 100 of the Act's current standards require employee safety training. In work environments that don't specify a requirement for training, OSHA sets voluntary training guidelines and material for use in the private sector to train employees in safe work practices. Industries that use hazardous chemicals, for example, must train employees on how to use personal protection equipment to stay safe.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlines the requirements for all companies, agencies or organizations to protect you from workplace acts of discrimination. Discriminatory behavior can include decisions for hiring, firing or promotions based on sex, race, religion, age, gender, national origin or disability -- characteristics known as protected classes. The other half of the law is that your employer must protect employees from the unwelcome conduct or harassing behavior of others who slur, belittle or demean someone based on the same protected classes. This includes having a workplace free of unwelcome physical contact.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration: You Have the Right to a Safe Workplace
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Personal Protection Equipment
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Harassment
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.