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What are an employer's responsibilities in the workplace?

Employers in California have a responsibility to comply with all relevant workplace safety standards that are set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Because workers may not be aware of these OSHA standards, employers are required to inform workers about the health and safety guidelines and provide them with safety training.

To make certain that health and safety requirements are met, employers must ensure that all of the equipment that is being used at a job site is safe and properly maintained. If a particular job has potential hazards that cannot be avoided, workers must be sufficiently warned about these hazards through signage. Before working with hazardous chemicals, workers must be trained by their employers on the proper handling techniques and the risks of exposure to those substances.

If a serious accident takes place on a work site, the employer must report the incident to the closest OSHA office. A reportable incident would be one that involves a death, hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. In addition to reporting the most serious workplace accidents, employers must keep accurate records of all work-related injuries and illnesses suffered by their employees. All employees and former employees should be allowed to have access to these records.

Some workplace accidents result in an employer facing OSHA citations for violations of established safety and health standards. However, a worker who is injured on the job may claim workers' compensation benefits regardless of whether their employer was cited for a violation. Workers often pursue compensation for a portion of lost wages and medical care. Because all workplace accidents involve unique circumstances, this information should not be confused with legal advice.

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