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Protections for federal employees under OSHA

North Carolina residents who are employees of the federal government may want to familiarize themselves with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's rules. Although federal employees are required to protect themselves by complying with health and safety policies and procedures, certain workplace hazards may be unavoidable, especially if an employer puts its employees in the line of danger unnecessarily. In the fiscal year of 2004, 165,000 federal employees were injured or fell ill as a result of a workplace accident or injury, and workers' compensation costs for federal employees reached over $2.3 billion over the same period.

Federal agencies are required to maintain a workspace that complies with all of OSHA's standards and rules and that eliminates recognized hazard safety and health threats. If any unsafe conditions happen to be found during an inspection, an employer is required to post a notice advising employees about the risk. Employers must also stock the protective equipment necessary for their workers and develop a safety and health program that is tailored to their workspace.

Some of the other regulations in place for federal employers under OSHA include required training for top management and supervisors and annual workplace inspections with representatives present on behalf of the employees. Employees are entitled to access of their federal agency's safety and health information, which includes any data on dangerous substances to which they may be exposed. Employees may also request inspections if they believe unsafe conditions are in place, give feedback on their agency's standards and participate in health and safety programs with their agency during work hours.

Thus, OSHA has many regulations in place that are meant to protect the rights of employees to point out workplace dangers to their employer. If an employer is unresponsive to an employee complaint or if an employee has suffered an injury resulting from an unsafe work condition, that employee may want to seek guidance from an employment law attorney.

Source: osha.gov, "Occupational Safety and Health for Federal Employees", September 11, 2014

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