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CalOSHA - Employee Rights

Employees have certain rights in workplace safety & health

As an employee, you (or someone acting for you) have the right to file a complaint and request an inspection of your workplace if conditions there are unsafe or unhealthful. This is done by contacting the local district office of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Your name is not revealed by Cal/OSHA, unless you request otherwise.

You also have the right to bring unsafe or unhealthful conditions to the attention of the Cal/OSHA investigator making an inspection of your workplace. Upon request, Cal/OSHA will withhold the names of employees who submit or make statements during an inspection or investigation.

Any employee has the right to refuse to perform work that would violate a Cal/OSHA or any occupational safety or health standard or order where such violation would create a real and apparent hazard to the employee or other employees.

You may not be fired or punished in any way for filing a complaint about unsafe or unhealthful working conditions, or using any other right given to you by Cal/OSHA law. If you feel that you have been fired or punished for exercising your rights, you may file a complaint about this type of discrimination by contacting the nearest office of the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (State Labor Commissioner) or the San Francisco office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (Employees of state or local government agencies may only file these complaints with the State Labor Commissioner.)

Special rules apply in work around hazardous substances

Employers who use any substance listed as a hazardous substance in Section 339 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, or subject to the Federal Hazard Communications Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), must provide employees with information on the contents on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), or equivalent information about the substance that trains employees to use the substance safely.

Employers shall make available on a timely and reasonable basis a Material Safety Data Sheet on each hazardous substance in the workplace upon request of an employee, an employee collective bargaining representative, or an employee's physician.

Employees have the right to see and copy their medical records and records of exposure to potentially toxic materials or harmful physical agents. Employers must allow access by employees or their representatives to accurate records of employee exposures to potentially toxic materials or harmful physical agents, and notify employees of any exposures in concentration or levels exceeding the exposure limits allowed by Cal/OSHA standards.

Any employee has the right to observe monitoring or measuring of employee exposure to hazards conducted pursuant to Cal/OSHA regulations.

Help is available

To learn more about job safety rules, you may contact the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service for free information, required forms and publications. You can also contact a local district office of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.