Workers’ Toolbox

This section focuses on practical tools for workers. For a much broader array of health and safety resources, see the "Hazards Info" section.

Para Recursos en español, haga clic aquí. For Spanish language materials, click here.

For materials in other languages, click here.

What you’ll find on this page:

Workers’ Rights under OSHA and How to Use OSHA

Whistleblower Rights: Protecting Yourself from Retaliation

Health and Safety Rights under other Labor Laws

Special Worker Groups:Temporary and Contract Workers’, Young Workers

Other Worker Tools: Useful resources for worker health and safety

Links to Other Valuable sites

Workers’ Rights under OSHA and How to Use OSHA

Know Your Rights!

You have the right under U.S. health and safety laws to:

  • A workplace that is safe and free from hazards
  • Talk to your supervisor about unsafe or unhealthy working conditions
  • File a complaint with OSHA about unsafe or unhealthy conditions
  • Refuse to do a job task that you reasonably think might put you in immediate danger
  • Know about the hazards in your workplace
  • Not to be discriminated against (fired, given a worse job, etc.) for reporting safety hazards
  • Access to records of medical tests and tests that monitor your work environment for hazardous materials
  • Access to information about injuries and illnesses that happen in your workplace

For more information about all of these rights, see the links to more detailed fact sheets below.

Your OSHA Rights in a Nutshell. The basics of workers’ rights under OSHA law. (pdf)

Know Your Rights Under OSHA. A more detailed version of the above. (pdf)

How to File a Complaint with OSHA: A comprehensive guide produced by the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH.)

Know Your Rights: Your Legal Rights in the Workplace: Basic factsheet covering OSHA rights, workers’ compensation, minimum wage, and other labor laws. (pdf)

The OSHA Inpection: A step-by-step guide. (pdf)

Your Right to an OSHA Inspection and other OSHA Rights. (pdf)

After the OSHA Inspection: How to Follow-up an OSHA inspection

The General Duty Clause: How to use the employer’s "General Duty" to maintain a safe and healthy workplace as the grounds for an OSHA complaint.

When to Call OSHA: Under what circumstances should you contact OSHA to file a complaint and how can you increase the chances that your complaint will be successful.

Filing a complaint on-line with OSHA: Click here to go to the OSHA webpage to file a complaint.

The Laws behind Safety and Health Rights: Get the details on each of the laws that give you these rights at the AFL-CIO’s safety and health page.

Bathroom Breaks: When you gotta go, you’ve got the right to go! Factsheet from the UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health program.

Whisleblower Rights: Protection from Retaliation

How to Protect Yourself from Retaliation if you need to complain about a dangerous job (pdf)

Whistleblower Rights under Environmental Laws: A brief introduction. (pdf)

Workers’ Compensation

For workers’ compensation resources, see our workers’ comp page

Special Worker Groups

Temp and Contract Workers Have Rights Too! (pdf)

Health and Safety Rights on the Job for Teen Workers (pdf)

Health and Safety for Women and Children: A Training booklet from the International Labor Organization.

Other Worker Tools

A Factory Workers’ Guide to Organizing for Safe Jobs and Healthy Communities, by the Hesperian Foundation. This book, a work in progress as of July, 2006, is an in-depth guide to organizing for better safety and health conditions for workers in export processing zones around the world. Portions are currently available on the Hesperian foundation website.

Health and Safety Survey of the Workplace, (UAW factsheet)

General Hazards Checklist, (UAW factsheet)

The Best Way to Control Hazards: The Hierarchy of Controls (UAW factsheet)

Controlling Hazards: A training booklet from the International Labor Organization.

The New OSHA 300 Log (Log of Injuries and Illnesses) (UAW factsheet)

Using Health and Safety Committees at Work: A training booklet from the International Labor Organization.