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How do I report unsafe working conditions?

Employers must always be vigilant for the well-being of their workers, no matter how apparent the possible hazards. This is why the State of California's Occupation Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) is ready to help with any concerns about workplace safety.

If you are concerned that conditions may result in a workplace accident, especially one resulting in injury, consider reporting these conditions to Cal/OSHA.

How do I report a hazard in the workplace?

You have the right to file a complaint with Cal/OSHA to ensure any hazards are rectified. Call the Cal/OSHA district office in the area that includes the work site. These locations, as well as detailed information about filing complaints, may be found on Cal/OSHA's home page.

Make sure you have the following information so authorities can properly respond and investigate:

-- Name and address of the employer, as well as the work site if it is different than the official address

-- The location of the hazard within the work site, such as tools, workspaces, and rooms

-- When operations and conditions are hazardous, such as scheduled work times or processes

-- A description of the hazard in plain English (no special legal knowledge is required for an investigation to begin)

How is my identity and job protected?

Cal/OSHA will keep your name confidential from your employer, unless you request that it is released. You also have the right to a private interview with an inspector during an inspection, without your employer present. Ask the inspector for a business card so you may contact her/him later as well.

If an inspection results in a citation for unsafe working conditions, employees are not liable; only employers may receive citations. It is also against California law for an employer to punish workers for refusing to work in conditions Cal/OSHA has deemed unsafe or if you or your co-workers believe a real and apparent hazard would result.

If you have any continuing concerns about the safety of your workplace or have suffered injury or illness because of a workplace hazard, consult a legal advisor.

Source: Department of Industrial Relations Cal/OSHA, "Health & Safety Rights: Facts for California Workers," accessed June 30, 2017

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