How to Deal with Safety Violations in the Workplace


A violation of workplace or national safety codes is a threat to you and the people around you. It should never be ignored. Unfortunately, there seem to be several business owners out there who don’t care all that much about such things.

They could be reluctant to deal with the issue because it costs time and money. While every business owner is right to worry about those things, they are not right to do so at the expense of the safety of their employees.

As an employee, you are at risk in this situation. You should take action. Here’s a quick rundown of what you should do and how this situation can play out.

Collect evidence

Unless the danger posed is immediate, you should consider getting evidence of the violation recorded as soon as you can. You may find yourself about to enter a whirlwind of bureaucratic complication.

The ideal outcome would be for your employer to deal with it properly and immediately. But if they neglect to do anything, then you will need this evidence when you take things further.

Report it to your employer

The next step is to go to your employer. As I hopefully made clear earlier in this article, they have a legal obligation to protect their employees. This means that they are required to deal with any safety risks as soon as they can. You should be reporting this via email to ensure that there is a “paper trail” of communication.

If someone is injured due to a problem at the workplace, the employer is usually held legally responsible for it. This, of course, gives them some pretty strong incentive to deal with it. Unfortunately, some people seem to think that nothing bad will happen to them. Which brings us to…

Think about getting someone to represent you

If nothing has been done about the problem, then you’re going to need to take things further. Some employees are reluctant about doing this. It feels like their job may be at risk if they “rock the boat” in such a manner.

But you’re doing the right thing; after all, it’s your health and the health of others at risk. You’re legally protected against retaliation from a disgruntled employer in these scenarios. Where you work will determine what kind of representation you should seek. For example, workers in a nuclear plant will want to seek ERA Whistleblower Protection.

File a complaint to a high authority

Remember: wherever you work, there’s an institute that will have your back in this scenario. In the States, one of the most popular examples of such an institute is OSHA. The mention of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration should really be enough to scare an employer into check.

Remember that evidence I advised you to collect? Remember the “paper trail” of communication with your boss that I referred to earlier? Here’s where it all comes in handy. If nothing has been done, you should file a complaint with the United States Department of Labor’s OSHA. And remember: you’re protected by the law in such cases.

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Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

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