Maryland workers have a right to report work hazards

For over 40 years, Maryland has been deeply involved in promoting and maintaining workplace safety. Beginning with the passing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the state of Maryland begin implementing its own version of the national plan to ensure workplaces throughout the state were safe and healthful for employees.

As part of that trend, Maryland Occupational Safety and Health has now become the state agency tasked with the enforcement, training and consultation related to promoting and regulating work place safety standards. MOSH monitors every Maryland business that has at least one employee with the few exceptions of federal employers and other workers covered under federal guidelines.

A core component of MOSH's strategy to achieving its goals is the participation of the employees they serve to identify and report potential work hazards. Some examples of these hazards may include unsafe work environments such as factories that use caustic chemicals without emergency showers and eyewash stations. Additionally, an employer who removes or disables safety devices on machinery or equipment in order to increase work volume may be in violation of workplace safety rules.

There are a myriad of potential hazards spread across thousands of workplaces throughout Maryland. MOSH's ability to inspect and review every workplace for safety and health violations is limited. As a result, MOSH relies on employees filing a complaint with them in order to learn about potential workplace hazards. MOSH will even take in anonymous complaints from employees who may be fearful of losing their jobs.

Maryland workers should know that they do not have to suffer quietly and risk being injured or killed simply to earn a living. However, workers who are injured or made sick as a result of poor workplace safety practices may also be eligible for workers' compensation. Depending on the circumstances of their cases, some Maryland workers may be able to sue a liable third party to recover their lost wages, medical expenses and other related costs.

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