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Understanding the workplace safety rights of federal employees

Pennsylvania federal employees may be interested in some information about their rights regarding workplace safety. Federal law grants these rights and sets specific requirements for federal agencies.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, these federal agencies have to meet certain standards for employee safety. OSHA says that these agencies are responsible for providing a healthy and safe workplace, with procedures and equipment in place for maintaining this safety standard. In addition, the agency workplace should be inspected every year. Notice of any hazards found on those inspections should be posted for all employees to see prior to the hazards being corrected. A poster detailing important OSHA provisions and details about the health and safety program is required to be displayed in the workplace.

There are several rights available to federal employees through OSHA, including the ability to report unsafe conditions and request an inspection of that condition by federal officials. Federal employees are also given the right to information about workplace health and safety data and give their input on any workplace safety standards that differ from accepted OSHA standards. The responsibility for workplace safety is not solely on the employer, however. OSHA notes that employees are also responsible for complying with procedures and wearing the appropriate safety equipment in order to avoid workplace injuries.

Federal workers who are injured on the job may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits through the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation. These benefits can help those who are injured with lost wages and disability payments during a time that they cannot work. An attorney may be helpful in properly filing a claim for workers' compensation.

Source: osha.gov, "Occupational Safety and Health for Federal Employees", September 15, 2014

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