The State of New Jersey requires businesses which reopen to be in compliance with all guidelines and directives issued by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), the Center for Disease Control (“CDC) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”) for maintaining a clean, safe and healthy work environment. OSHA guidelines require employers to provide a workplace “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm” to employees.
Upon your return to work, if your place of employment is lacking in safety protocols so as to create a serious safety hazard, you are recommended to review your employee handbook and to follow any provisions regarding health and safety complaints. If your employer is failing to provide you with protective equipment or forcing you to do something that is objectively unsafe, you should consider writing a complaint to your boss.
It is also recommended that you consider documenting everything to show how your workplace is unsafe. You can then file a safety and health complaint with OSHA. This can be done via online complaint form or by emailing, faxing or mailing the hardcopy OSHA Complaint form.
You can also call your local OSHA Regional Office or dial 1-800-321-OSHA. You can either give your name to OSHA or file a complaint anonymously. If you give OSHA your name, you can tell OSHA not to disclose your name to your employer in the case where you are considered about retaliation for raising a safety or health complaint.
An OSHA investigator will conduct an investigation of either a complaint of a safety or health issue or of retaliation in a situation where the employee is punished by his/her employer for raising the complaint. The OSHA investigator will review evidence and conduct interviews of witnesses. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator prepares a report of his or her findings and conclusions.
Your employer is obligated to maintain a safe work environment for you to work in. If you feel that you are at risk of exposure and do not know how to address the problem, then you are encouraged to set up a consultation with an experienced employment law attorney. During a consultation, the attorney will listen to your facts, explain which law apply to your situation and provide you with options for moving forward with your claims.