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Don't be afraid to report unsafe work conditions

Everyone expects safe working environments; places and spaces where you don't have to worry about job hazards that may put you and your co-workers at risk of injury.

Federal and state laws support all workers in this fact. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is a federal law requiring employers to maintain a workplace free of dangerous health and safety conditions that cause illness, injury and death.

Contact U.S. Department of Labor

If you discover a workplace condition that may cause danger or threaten the life of employees, report it immediately. Ideally, you would contact your manager. But if there's a lack of trust with management, contact the U.S. Department of Labor. You can do so online, via fax or mail and telephone.

Sometimes, workers fear retaliation if they speak up and report a workplace danger. Many suspect they may lose their jobs or don't want to be labeled as a "complainer." It's a tightrope that some people walk, but should not do so, especially if they want to do the right thing. Workplace safety affects everyone and is critical.

Open communication must be encouraged

Young workers sometimes may think that their voices don't count, because of their age and experience. This is where a change in workplace culture can greatly help. Workplace managers must encourage an environment where open communication is encouraged and valued.

Doing so may lead to a stronger focus on problem-solving and learning. For example, sharing "near-misses" with managers and colleagues should be treated as learning experiences that can benefit all workers and the company.

This marks just one step toward a workplace management gaining the trust of their direct reports, ultimately leading to safer work environments.

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