In our experience, farmers and employers want to create a work environment that is as safe as possible. We see farmers provide trainings and informational meetings about practices on their farms so that workers are well-informed and have everything they need to perform their jobs safely. We generally see a mutual trust between employers and employees where they communicate and work together to ensure safety on the job.
Regardless, there are some cases where there is not a safe work environment and workers are not able to communicate about safety issues with their employers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created for instances like these. If you feel that you cannot communicate with your employer and advocate for your safety on the job, there is information below about how OSHA staff can help you.
Under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards. If you have concerns, you have the right to speak up about them without fear of retaliation. You also have the right to:
- Be trained in a language you understand
- Work on machines that are safe
- Be provided required safety gear, such as gloves or a harness and lifeline for falls
- Be protected from toxic chemicals
- Request an OSHA inspection, and speak to the inspector
- Report an injury or illness, and get copies of your medical records
- See copies of the workplace injury and illness log
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
- Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace
Safety and Health Complaint
If you believe working conditions are unsafe or unhealthful, you may file a confidential complaint with OSHA and ask for an inspection. If possible, bring the conditions to your employer’s attention.
The OSHA website gives you step by step information about how to file a complaint.
Protection from Retaliation
It is illegal for an employer to fire, demote, transfer or otherwise retaliate against a worker for using their rights under the law. If you believe you have been retaliated against in any way, file a whistleblower complaint within 30 days of the alleged retaliation.
To ask about a health and safety issue at your workplace, discuss your rights, or learn more about OSHA, contact them toll-free at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA) or contact your nearest OSHA office below.
Western WI: Eau Claire Area Office
1310 W. Clairemont Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Phone: (715) 832-9019
Phone: (715) 832-114
Minnesota OSHA Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (MNOSHA)
443 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155-4307
Phone: (651) 284-5050
Phone: (877) 470-6742
Phone: (651) 284-5741