Can My Boss Fire Me If I Speak Out About Workplace Safety?

By Peter DePaolis

The answer is no. As an employee, you have a right to workplace safety, and if you feel unsafe, you should speak out. Do not fear retaliation; you are protected under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act covers a wide variety of safety requirements for employees on a work site, including:

  • The use of protective equipment, like hard hats and eye protection
  • Standards for equipment and machinery
  • Regulations for safety precautions, like harnesses and preventing scaffolding accidents

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is a government agency that investigates violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Many worksite accidents happen due to OSHA violations, and employees deserve better. If you have been injured on a job site, your employer may be responsible for violating or ignoring OSHA standards and for your injuries as well.

OSHA violations can expose a construction company to significant consequences, including:

  • Fines
  • Increased surveillance by OSHA officials
  • Costs and liability for any injuries to workers
  • Stopping the company’s work projects

OSHA’s goal is to protect US workers when companies try to put profit ahead of the well-being of their own employees. When OSHA investigates, it is very helpful to your cause. OSHA officials get on the scene soon after the accident, interviewing witnesses and preserving evidence. The OSHA investigation is neutral, looking to enforce rules that affect the safety of every employee.

When OSHA issues a citation to a company for a violation following your construction accident, you may have additional evidence to support a claim against the construction company, or other responsible parties. OSHA violations can provide proof that an employee was working in unsafe conditions when the accident or injury occurred.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Injury Attorneys

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.