Keeping Employees Informed

The IAMAW, along with the other affiliated unions of the AFL-CIO, has historically promoted workplace safety and health laws. The Occupational Safety and Health ACT was enacted in 1970 as a direct result of organized labors support and efforts. These laws have helped not only union workers but all the workers who come under the ACT.

Protecting lives and making a healthier workplace is just one of the many benefits provided by the Machinists’ Union. The following information is furnished to educate those workers interested in promoting safety in their workplaces.

As in all OSHA standards, “Keeping Employees Informed” should be read and understood completely.

KEEPING EMPLOYEES INFORMED

Employers are responsible for keeping employees informed about OSHA and about the various safety and health matters with which they are involved.

Federal OSHA and States with their own occupational safety and health programs require that each employer post certain materials at a prominent location in the workplace. These include the following:

  • Job Safety and Health Protection workplace poster (OSHA 2203 or State equivalent) informing employees of their rights and responsibilities under the Act. Besides displaying the workplace poster, the employer must make available to employees, upon request, copies of the Act and copies of relevant OSHA rules and regulations. Any official edition of the poster is acceptable.
  • Summaries of petitions for variances from standards or record keeping procedures.
  • Copies of all OSHA citations for violations of standards. These must remain posted at or near the location of alleged violations for three days, or until the violations are corrected, whichever is longer.
  • Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA No. 300A). The summary page of the log must be posted no later than February 1, and must remain in place until April 30.

All employees have the right to examine any records kept by their employers regarding their exposure to hazardous materials, or the results of medical surveillance.

Occasionally, OSHA standards or NIOSH research activities will require an employer to measure and record employee exposure to potentially harmful substances. Employees have the right (in person or through their authorized representative) to be present during the measuring as well as to examine records of the results.

Under these substance-specific requirements, each employee or former employee has the right to see his or her examination records, and must be told by the employer if exposure has exceeded the levels set by standards. The employee must also be told what corrective measures are being taken.

In addition to having access to records, employees in manufacturing facilities must be provided information about all of the hazardous chemicals in their work areas. Employers are to provide this information by means of labels on containers, material safety data sheets and training programs.

It is in the best interest of all workers and their families to promote workplace health and safety practices on the job. The IAM continues to urge our lawmakers to enact stronger, enforceable laws to protect workers. Through the union safety committees, we enhance the existing laws through education and oversight on thousands of shop floors throughout Canada and the United States. The “Fighting Machinists” will continue to fight for safer and healthier workplaces for all workers.