Your Right to a Safe Workplace

As an employee in the state of California, you have many legal rights and protections. One of these rights includes the right to a safe workplace. The California Labor Code Section 6400, which governs workplace safety, states that “Every employer shall furnish employment and a place of employment that is safe and healthful for the employees therein.”

Further, Section 6401 states that:

“Every employer shall furnish and use safety devices and safeguards, and shall adopt and use practices, means, methods, operations, and processes which are reasonably adequate to render such employment and place of employment safe and healthful. Every employer shall do every other thing reasonably necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees.”

As you can tell from the plain language of the law, employers have a high burden to protect you as employees, and a failure to do so can expose the business to significant regulation and liability. Workplace safety is regulated and enforced by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also referred to as Cal/OSHA. Significantly, under California law and Cal/OSHA regulations, you have the following rights:

  • Employers are required to develop and implement an injury and illness prevention program (IIPP) for employees. This must include safety training and instruction for safe work practices and a system in which employers can share safety information with employees. If your employer does not have an IIPP, this is a problem.
  • Under California law, you have a legal right to report unsafe work conditions. You can confidentially report violations to Cal/OSHA. Depending on the nature of the report, Cal/OSHA may speak with your employer or conduct an investigation.
  • If you file a report of unsafe conditions, your employer is legally prohibited from retaliating against you or taking adverse employment action based on your report.
  • If you believe that your employer has assigned you unsafe or hazardous work, you have the legal right to refuse that work if it violates a state safety regulation or would “create a real and apparent hazard” to you or your co-workers. Further, your employer cannot punish you for refusing to do this hazardous work.
  • You have the right to information from your employer. This includes safety information about chemicals and toxic substances in your workplace, as well as records that demonstrate your exposure to toxic materials. Further, you are entitled to data regarding your workplace injuries and illnesses.

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You Need an Attorney

You have the right to a safe workplace. If you feel like your employer is violating state safety regulations, you also have a right to refuse this work and to report your employer. If any of your rights are violated, call Moss Bollinger. We take great pride in holding employers accountable for workplace violations and putting employees in danger. You should be able to work without having to fear for your own life or basic safety. Contact Moss Bollinger today by phone at (866) 535-2994 for a free consultation or reach us online.

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