Connecticut law gives employees the right to a safe workplace and the proper handling of any job-related injury or illness. Still, there have been instances where employers have not lived up to their responsibilities concerning workers’ health.

Workers should know what to expect from their employers’ workplace safety programs and how to handle illnesses and injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set forth regulations and standards that all employers must follow.

General industry safety and health standards

OSHA defines “general industry” as “all industries not included in agriculture, construction or maritime.” The 29 CFR Part 1910 outlines specific standards that employers must abide by to keep workplaces safe and healthy. For example, employers must keep walking surfaces clear and clean. In wet process environments, employers must install drainage and dry surfaces to keep the floor as slip-resistant as possible.

Agriculture, construction and maritime safety and health standards

There is an increased expectancy of risk involved for employees who work in agriculture, construction or maritime industries. Heavy machinery, hazardous chemicals, prolonged loud noise and dangerous heights are all hazards common to these workers. Employers in these sectors are responsible for ensuring proper maintenance and repair of equipment, training employees in the use of hazardous substances or machinery, and for implementing a personal protective equipment (PPE) program.

Reporting and record keeping standard

OSHA has strict requirements that govern the reporting of any work-related injury or illness that requires treatment beyond basic first aid or prevents the employee from performing his or her duties. Most organizations that employ at least 10 workers need to keep a current record of these events as well as report them to OSHA promptly. Maintaining these records is a crucial component that helps employers and employees understand the dangers of their workplaces and spot opportunities for safety improvements.