If you work in New Mexico and you notice something that make the work environment hazardous to you and other employees, it is your duty to report the conditions. There are a number of steps you can take, and the first one is to tell your most immediate supervisor. However, if your employer is unreceptive to your complaints there are other ways to approach the situation.
According to FindLaw, both state and federal laws require employers to provide a safe working environment for all workers. Employers must take safety precautions to prevent long-term work-related health issues, one-time injuries and fatal injuries.
When an employee notices a safety concern that does not pose imminent danger, the proper first step is to write a letter to the employer that outlines the hazards so he or she can fix the problem. A worker should not hesitate coming forward, as the laws specifically state the employer cannot take negative action for reporting safety concerns.
If there is a situation that warrants immediate danger, the worker should contact OSHA right away. In some instances, the employee has a legal right to refuse to work until work conditions improve. This is ok when:
- The employer knows about the safety hazard and does nothing
- The danger is so imminent that the employee does not have time to report to the proper authorities
- There is a substantial risk of death or serious injury
- The worker does not have an alternative for safer work
The National Institutes of Health says that a worker can file a written or oral report about any safety concerns to OSHA. He or she can also do this anonymously, but it is better to include contact information so the investigators can follow up for clarification or to get more information.