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Federal workers protected by jobsite regulations

Federal employees working in Minnesota are entitled to worksites that are free from recognized health and safety hazards. Both federal agencies and their employees are required to take steps that ensure security in the work environment. Most of these are preventative measures.

The agency responsible for the work location must provide approved protective equipment, conduct an annual formal inspection with the inclusion of an employee representative, and post notices of unhealthy or unsafe conditions found in the process of an inspection. The agency must also work to remove safety and health hazards as quickly as possible. If a workplace accident should occur, procedures must be in place to provide an adequate response to any injured employees and make sure that non-injured workers are protected.

Correspondingly, federal employees are obligated to do all that they can to protect themselves and their fellow workers. They must comply with the agency's procedures and policies that cover safety and health. Workers are entitled to participate in safety and health programs during working hours and obtain data on hazardous substances, medical records and safety records. They are permitted to comment on proposed agency safety standards, and they can report their suspicions of unsafe conditions to other agencies, including the Secretary of Labor.

When a federal employee suffers a work injury, he or she may decide to consult with an attorney to learn about the workers' compensation options that may be available. The attorney could answer questions that the worker has about compensation while he or she is unable to work, rehabilitation resources, and what he or she may expect upon returning to work after recovering from injuries.

Source: osha.gov, "Occupational Safety and Health for Federal Employees", September 15, 2014

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