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Pennsylvania workplace accidents: potential imminent danger


Injuries suffered while on the job may disable a lot of Pennsylvania workers. The U.S. Department of Labor has conducted various awareness drives to make employers aware of the hazards of dangerous workplace environments.

Pennsylvania laws and regulations allow employees who were injured on the job to pursue workers' compensation benefits. Many injured workers may be rendered partially or completely disabled by their injuries, which may be temporary or even permanent. Many victims of workplace accidents as well as their dependants and families often find it beneficial to contact professional legal help in order to seek compensation.

Prevention is always better than the cure, so federal law empowers workers to refuse to work in a work environment that is imminently dangerous. This rule, however, is not an umbrella rule. If the following conditions are not met, and a worker refuses to perform a particular job duty and is subsequently fired, the federal government may not be able to help them.

In such cases of refusal to work, certain conditions must be met. First, the worker must prove that he or she believed in good faith that the workplace was imminently dangerous and that there was a reasonable cause to believe in the danger. In addition, the worker must have asked the employer to rectify the danger and this request was refused or ignored. Lastly, a valid refusal to work can only take place if all regular channels of correction, such as inspection by authorities, could not be requested on such short notice.

Workers who believe their workplace is dangerous do have options. They can file a complaint with state or federal agencies, and in certain circumstances as outlined above, they may refuse to work. However, because of the complex nature of such instances, along with the potential for negative consequences, seeking professional advice about one's rights may be valuable. This post is for general purposes only.

Source: OSHA.gov, "Refusing to work because conditions are dangerous", accessed Feb. 27, 2015

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