Learn More About Workplace Safety
Working people shouldn't have to choose between our health and a paycheck. Learn more about our rights and protections and how to demand a safer work environment.
Employers are required by law to keep their workers safe. But far too many don't provide the protections necessary to keep you and your co-workers from becoming infected with COVID-19 at work.
If your employer isn't doing the essential things to keep you healthy and safe at work, contact your union to learn more about your rights to a safe workplace and strong workplace health and safety programs. If there’s not a union where you work, consider contacting a union organizer for information.
Effective Safety and Health Protections
Your employer should have a plan to prevent you and your co-workers from becoming infected with COVID-19 at work. But we know that many employers won’t take adequate action unless workers insist. There are essential measures that your employer should be following to help keep you safe.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the main federal agency in charge of ensuring employers provide safe workplaces. Federal OSHA does not have any specific standards for COVID-19, but there are related standards on respiratory protection, personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation that your employer must follow. If you’re a union member, contact your union for assistance in contacting OSHA. If you don't have a union where you work, consider contacting a union first.
Strength in Numbers
The most effective way to solve problems at work is by joining together with your co-workers. By working with your co-workers, you are able to speak up with less fear of retaliation from your employer. Ultimately, the best way to get a safe workplace is to have a union contract. Union members have been joining together at work to protect ourselves and our families during the pandemic.
Right to Refuse Dangerous Work
In order to refuse dangerous work legally, you must follow specific steps. Refusing work can result in losing your job and losing your eligibility for unemployment compensation. This may be the case even if you properly abide by the law and your employer discharges you unlawfully. Before refusing dangerous work, talk to your union, co-workers or other worker advocates in your area.