Employee Workplace Rights and Responsibilities


In 1970, OSHA was created by the Department of Labor to encourage employers and employees to reduce workplace hazards and to implement safety and health programs. OSHA gives all workers certain rights and responsibilities so they can protect themselves and fellow workers from dangerous working conditions or employer reprisals. In additions to the rights and responsibilities established by OSHA, your collective bargaining agreement may provide you with more rights and responsibilities than those identified here.

OSHA gives workers the rights to:

Review copies of appropriate standards, rules, regulations, and requirements that your employer should have available at the workplace.
Request information from your employer on safety and health hazards in the workplace and procedures to be followed if you are involved in an accident or exposed to toxic substances.
Access relevant exposure and medical records
Contact your steward or business agent to request an OSHA inspection of your workplace, if you believe hazardous conditions or violations of standards exist.
Have your name withheld from the employer, upon request to OSHA, if a written and signed complaint is filed.
Have a union representative accompany the OSHA compliance officer during the inspection tour.
Be advised of OSHA actions regarding a complaint and request an informal review of any decision not to inspect or to issue a citation.
Respond to questions from OSHA compliance officer, particularly if there is no union representative accompanying the compliance officer during the inspection.
Observe any monitoring or measuring of hazardous materials and see the resulting records as required by OSHA standards
Have a union representative, or you, review the Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries (OSHA No. 200).
Object to the abatement period set by OSHA for correcting any violation in the OSHA area director.
Be notified by your employer if it applies for a variance from an OSHA standard, and testify at a variance hearing, and appeal the final decision.
File a discrimination complaint under Section 11 (C) of the OSH Act if you are punished for exercising your rights or for refusing to work when faced with an imminent danger situation.


Although OSHA does not cite employees for violations of their responsibilities, employees should comply with all occupational safety and health standards and rules that apply to them.

A worker should:

Read the OSHA poster at the jobsite.
Comply with all applicable ISHA standards.
Follow employer safety and health regulations and use prescribed protective equipment while working.
Report hazardous conditions to the supervisor, immediately.
Report hazardous conditions to the supervisor, immediately.
Report any job-related injury or illness to the employer, and seek treatment promptly.
Cooperate with the OSHA compliance officer conduction an inspection if he or she inquires about safety and health conditions in the workplace.
Exercise rights under the OSH Act in a responsible manner.