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What can I do if I don't think it's safe to go into work?

This question is from a series of questions and answers on Worker Rights and Strategies for Staying Safe During COVID-19 created by National COSH to support workers during the pandemic.

WHAT CAN I DO IF I DON’T THINK IT’S SAFE TO GO INTO WORK?

  • Workers have a legal right to a safe and healthy workplace. It’s a legal right under OSHA as well as a basic human right.
  • OSHA rights are minimal protections enforced by a weak, small agency. We compare the OSHA law to a minimum wage – it’s a worker’s right but it’s not a living wage.
  • You can also file a complaint with Federal OSHA or your state’s OSHA, but you should know that OSHA programs are not doing regular inspections during COVID, with rare exceptions. Thousands of workers have filed complaints only to have OSHA instruct the employer to investigate and report back to them. There are some strategies to help when considering filing a complaint with OSHA or State Plan OSHA 
  • OSHA can be useful to investigate and issue citations in specific situations where workers have documented serious violations of standards and can file a complaint with OSHA that describes those hazards.
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