Workplace Safety

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Employees should be safe when they are at work. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is in charge of monitoring and enforcing workplace safety and health standards for Michigan workers. It also provides training and education to employers and employees to prevent workplace injury, illness, and death.

Workplace Safety Standards

Employers have to maintain a workplace that does not have hazards that are likely to cause serious harm or death. This means that employers may need to:

  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Maintain records of employees exposed to toxic substances
  • Allow MIOSHA health and safety inspections

Some industries, such as construction and agriculture, have additional safety standards. To learn about these standards, visit the Agriculture Operations Standards and Construction Safety and Health Standards webpages on the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity website.

To read more about the general safety standards that apply across many industries, visit the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity website.

Unsafe Working Conditions 

An unsafe working condition may look different depending on the type of work you do. It could involve:

  • Exposure to hazardous materials
  • Broken equipment
  • Improper or no PPE
  • Working without a rest period 

If you feel unsafe at work because of your working conditions, you have a few different options. Read the sections below to learn more.

Alert Your Employee Representative

Some jobs have employee representatives who are specially trained in workplace safety requirements. If you are part of a union or labor organization, you may have a representative. If you are not sure about whether you have a representative, ask your human resources department.

The representative may be able to give you directions on the next steps you should take to resolve your safety concerns. An employee representative may also take further action and alert MIOSHA about an unsafe working environment.

Alert Your Employer

In some cases, alerting your employer to unsafe working conditions may fix the problem. It is a good idea to do this in writing whenever possible so that you and your employer have a record of what was reported. An employer who doesn’t know about the danger will not be able to fix it. Not all employees may feel comfortable confronting their employers, so there are other options for reporting unsafe conditions.

File a Complaint

If you are a current employee, you have the right to file a complaint with MIOSHA for health and safety violations at your worksite. You can file a Safety and Health Hazards Complaint online, or you can visit MIOSHA’s website to download the form. If you download it, you will need to mail or fax the completed form to MIOSHA. You are allowed to file a complaint anonymously. If you want to do this, check the box on the form that asks MIOSHA not to reveal your name to the employer.

MIOSHA may follow up with you to get more information. The agency may also make a worksite visit to inspect for any violations in person.

Contact MIOSHA

If there is an emergency or the hazard is immediately life threatening, call MIOSHA at 800-866-4674 to report the situation. MIOSHA only accepts complaints over the phone in emergency situations or for construction-related complaints. The number should not be used for other safety complaints.

Refuse to Work

In some situations, you may have the option of refusing to work. Before you refuse to work, you must first contact your employer to try and fix the unsafe working condition. If there is a serious health hazard that could cause death or serious physical harm and there is not enough time for a MIOSHA inspection, you may have a legal right to refuse to work. You will not be paid for the time you do not work, but your employer cannot retaliate against you because you refused to work in unsafe conditions.

Retaliation After Reporting a Violation

It is against the law for employers to retaliate against an employee who reports a workplace health and safety violation.

If your employer retaliated against you after you reported a safety violation, you may file a discrimination complaint with MIOSHA. To file a discrimination complaint, fill out the form and mail it to the address listed at the bottom of the form. You may also call MIOSHA’s Employee Discrimination Section at 313-456-3109. You have 30 days from the date the retaliation happened to file your complaint.

To learn more about workplace retaliation, read Workplace Discrimination.

Injury at Work

If you were injured because of an unsafe workplace, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. To learn more, read An Overview of Workers’ Compensation Benefits