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July 29, 2020 by Katie Tracy

Empowering Workers to Sue Employers for Dangerous Working Conditions

Workers presently have no right to bring a lawsuit against employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) for failing to provide safe and healthy working conditions. If an employer exposes workers to toxic chemicals or fails to guard a dangerous machine, for example, they must rely on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to inspect, find a violation, and issue a citation. This omission in the 1970 statute is especially troubling in the context of COVID-19, as workers across the United States continue to face a massive workplace health crisis without any meaningful support from OSHA or most of its state and territorial counterparts.

OSHA has so far declined to adopt an emergency standard to address COVID-19, despite repeated calls by unions, workers, and advocates to do so. Moreover, rather than enforcing existing standards or holding employers accountable for violating their general duty to provide safe and healthy working conditions, the agency is sitting on the sidelines, watching the crisis unfold.. OSHA's state and territorial counterparts aren't doing much better – California has an existing standard, and only Virginia and Oregon's occupational safety and health programs have taken action to institute an emergency standard. Elsewhere, workers are …

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July 29, 2020

Empowering Workers to Sue Employers for Dangerous Working Conditions