Get Together With Co-Workers

If you have an unsafe/unhealthy job, your co-workers probably do too. Avoid taking action alone. If you approach your employer with a group of workers and ideas about injury prevention, your boss is more likely to listen.

Although it is against the law to retaliate against workers who speak up about health and safety concerns, employers frequently do– either by giving workers bad shifts or worse work, fewer promotions or even firing them. You have rights to protection against retaliation under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and if you work with a group, you will have additional protections under the National Labor Relations Act.

Meet with co-workers privately. If they share your concerns, work with them on the next steps. Be prepared for differences among co-workers – some will be eager to work with you and be actively involved; others may be too afraid to do anything; while others may be willing to speak with you but not willing to participate in any of the action steps.

Ideally you will have a core group of workers who can gather information, develop an action plan and remain together as a permanent safety committee, to keep an eye on progress and raise safety/health concerns as they come up.