Workers' Rights

Workers' Rights
Workers' Rights
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As stated in this Workers Rights booklet, “you have the right to a safe workplace.” This is according to The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). “The OSH Act gives workers the right to safe and healthful working conditions. It is the duty of employers to provide workplaces that are free of known dangers that could harm their employees. This law also gives workers important rights to participate in activities to ensure their protection from job hazards.”

This booklet explains workers’ rights to:

  • File a confidential complaint with OSHA to have their workplace inspected.  
  • Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses that occur in their workplace.        
  • Receive copies of the results from tests and monitoring done to find and measure hazards in the workplace.
  • Get copies of their workplace medical records.
  • Participate in an OSHA inspection and speak in private with the inspector.
  • File a complaint with OSHA if they have been retaliated against by their employer as the result of requesting an inspection or using any of their other rights under the OSH Act.
  • File a complaint if punished or retaliated against for acting as a “whistleblower.”

If you are concerned about your safety and rights within the workplace, this resource is a handy guide for future reference.


Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Worker Protection is the Law of the Land 3

Workers’ Rights under the OSH Act 3

Employer Responsibilities 4

Who Does OSHA Cover 5

Private Sector Workers 5

State and Local Government Workers 5

Federal Government Workers 5

Not Covered under the OSH Act 6

Worker Rights in State-Plan States 6

Right to a Safe and Healthful Workplace 7

Employers’ “General Duty” 7

OSHA Standards: Protection on the Job 7

Right to be Provided Protective Equipment Free of Charge 8

Right to Information 8

OSHA Worksite Investigations 10

Right to File a Complaint with OSHA to Request an On-site OSHA Inspection 11

Rights of Workers during an Inspection 12

Workers’ Rights following Issuance of Citations 13

Right to Information if No Inspection is Conducted or No Citation Issued 14

Right to Use Your Rights: Protection against Retaliation Whistleblower Protection 14

If There is a Dangerous Situation at Work 16

Additional Whistleblower Protections 16

OSHA Assistance, Services, and Programs 21

Establishing a Safety and Health Program 21

Compliance Assistance Specialists 21

No Cost On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Services for Small Business 22

Cooperative Programs 22

Occupational Safety and Health Training 23

OSHA Educational Materials 23

How to Contact OSHA 23

OSHA Regional Offices 24


All workers, safety and health officials engaged in protecting worker’s rights as well as local, state, and federal union officials serving in labor relations should secure a copy of this key resource for reference purposes and guidance in worker-labor relations.

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Labor Dept., Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Supersedes: Employee Workplace Rights, 2003.
Key Phrases:
  • OSHA 3021 06R
  • Occupational Safety and Health
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