When you go to work, you expect that your employer will provide a safe working environment free from serious hazards. But this is not always the case, and you may be at risk of accident or injury when you go to work.
According to U.S. Department of Labor, the General Duty Clause states that employers must provide their employees with a workplace free from recognizable hazards that are likely to result in injuries or death. In return, employees have to follow industry regulations and rules for maintaining a safe workplace.
Criteria for a violation
For a General Duty Clause violation to occur, you have to meet four criteria:
- A hazard must exist
- The hazard must be likely to cause a serious injury or death
- Your employer can correct the hazard
- The hazard must be recognizable
If these criteria exist, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can issue a 5(a)(1) citation.
Examples of violations
There are many ways your employer can violate the General Duty Clause and create an unsafe workplace. For example, if you have to repeatedly lift loads above shoulder height, use a pipe threading machine with no automatic shutoff button, stand for periods of time without adequate support or work alone without a way to summon emergency medical assistance, a violation of this clause could exist.
If you get injured at work because your employer does not provide a safe workplace, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can cover your medical and rehabilitation expenses as you recover.