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What are my rights as a North Carolina worker?

It is important for North Carolina workers to understand that they have the right to a safe workplace. To ensure that workers are protected in their workplaces, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA Act) was passed to prevent workers from being seriously injured or killed while on the job. Under the OSHA Act, employers must provide a safe workplace that is free from known dangers. When a worker is concerned about hazards in their workplace, or that an employer is not properly following health and safety standards, the worker can file a complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) establishes and enforces health and safety standards in the workplace. Workers have a right to a workplace that does not pose a risk of serious harm. Rights of workers include the right to request OSHA inspect their workplace; the right to exercise their rights without the fear of retaliation or discrimination; the right to receive information and training, in their own language, related to hazards, hazard prevention and OSHA standards applicable to their workplace; the right to receive copies of test results conducted to find potential hazards in their workplace; the right to receive copies of their medical records and review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.

OSHA standards can be specific to particular industries. Most workers fall under OSHA's purview and state health and safety programs must, at a minimum, be as effective as OSHA's health and safety program. Worker health and safety laws help to ensure that workers are not harmed when trying to earn a living for themselves and their families. Additional protections are also in place to aid workers and family members of workers who have suffered harm in their workplace. Workers should always be familiar with their rights and the resources available to help them enforce their rights in the workplace or when they have been injured.

Source:, "Occupational Health & Safety Administration We Can Help," accessed on June 22, 2015

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