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""If you work in Massachusetts, you have the right to fair wages, a safe workplace, and workers’ compensation.

The Workers’ Rights blog series will cover these rights and more for workers across the state. The first part of the series will discuss workplace safety.   

In 2013, according to the Department of Labor Standards (DLS), about 66,500 work-related injuries and illnesses were reported in the state’s private sector. DLS — a part of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) — and the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provide information on workplace safety and safety training requirements.

Workplace Hazards

According to DLS and OSHA regulations, your employer needs to take steps to keep you safe at work, such as providing harnesses and lifelines to prevent falls and equipping you with protective clothing if needed.

There are dozens of things to keep in mind, and every workplace is different, but generally, your employer has to protect you from workplace hazards like:

  • Toxic substances and waste
  • Electrical or machine hazards
  • Fall hazards
  • Trench and digging hazards
  • Workplace violence
  • Disease
  • Fire and explosion hazards
  • Confined spaces
  • Ergonomic hazards

If you work in any level of the public sector, your employer must follow OSHA standards as enforced by DLS.

Dangerous Work Environments

In some professions, exposure to hazards may be part of the job — but your employer is still required to make this work as safe as possible. DLS has specialized safety programs that protect people who work in dangerous environments or with toxic elements.

Filing a Safety Complaint

If you think your workplace has violated health or safety regulations, LWD recommends that you talk to your employer first. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you can file a formal safety complaint.

There are many different types of safety regulations for Massachusetts workers. If you have questions about specific rights, contact OSHA or reach out to LWD for more information.

Stay tuned for the next part of the Workers’ Rights blog series to learn more about your workplace rights in Massachusetts.

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