All employers are required by federal law to post a notice from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to let workers know about their rights. Mandatory titled “OSHA Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law” must be posted in what they deem a “conspicuous place” or an area where employees see postings.
The poster encourages employees to contact the nearest US Department of Labor (DOL) office for help or to secure information on safety and health standards.
Thanks in part to the OSHA notifications, workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths have seen a significant decrease over the past 50 years. However, data from 2019 reveals a little more than 5,000 deaths or 15 deaths per day, with one-fifth occurring in the construction industry.
One anonymous worker took to Reddit to post a video of a rolled-up poster that was allegedly hidden in a back office. Allegedly, the “placement” was purportedly in response to workers inquiring about labor law, as stated in the notice. A follow-up post was a photo of the poster scrunched in a trash can.
With a combination of the internet and national news stations showing increasing interest, work-related injuries are often headline stories, particularly when they involve multiple safety violations. Coverage has included a mechanic losing an arm and an employee having a finger amputated.
One particularly high-profile story involved a one million dollar fine levied against four companies for a liquid nitrogen leak taking the lives of six workers in a poultry plant.
Companies have a duty to notify workers of their rights and provide immediate access to help. Falling short by unintentionally or intentionally impeding that access may find themselves on the wrong side of a powerful regulatory organization.