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Every Step of the Way

What is the General Duty Clause?

When you go to work, you expect that your employer will make sure your workplace is a safe place to be. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, and many employers violate the terms outlined in the General Duty Clause.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s General Duty Clause dictates that all employers should provide their workers with a space to work that is free from hazards that could cause injury or death. In return, employees must follow all health and safety regulations to stay safe at work.

The criteria for a violation

Your employer can only receive a citation under the General Duty Clause if a hazard meets four separate conditions. These conditions include that there must be a hazard, and it must be recognizable. The hazard must also pose a likely risk of causing harm or death and be something your employer could correct.

Examples of violations

Your employer can violate the General Duty Clause by requiring you to repeatedly lift loads above shoulder height or expecting you to work alone without a way to summon emergency assistance. Your employer could also violate this statute if your workplace has a pipe threading machine without an automatic shutoff button or if he or she improperly stores highly reactive chemicals.

If you sustain injuries because of an unsafe working environment, maintain comprehensive records of the situation surrounding your accident as well as your injuries. These records can support your case as you work on holding your employer accountable for failing to provide a safe workplace.