The Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 506, establishes the state's policy to ensure safe and healthful working conditions in every occupation in the state by authorizing the enforcement of effective standards, by assisting and encouraging employers and employees in their efforts to reduce the number of occupational safety and health hazards, and by providing for research and education in the field of occupational safety and health. This chapter allows for the creation of occupational health and safety programs and includes provisions for the adoption of federal standards, where applicable.
Chapter 411 of the Texas Labor Code provides workers with the right to report a work-related injury or illness. It requires employers to keep records of occupational injuries and illnesses and to make these records available for inspection. The chapter also outlines the process for employees to report safety violations and for the Division of Workers' Compensation to investigate such claims. Additionally, it includes provisions for penalties against employers who violate safety requirements and protections for employees against retaliation for reporting safety violations.
Chapter 406 of the Texas Labor Code mandates that private employers can choose whether or not to provide workers' compensation insurance coverage for their employees. However, if employers elect not to provide workers' compensation insurance, they must comply with certain reporting and notification requirements. This chapter also outlines the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees within the workers' compensation system, including the provision of medical and income benefits for workers who sustain a work-related injury or illness.
Chapter 451 of the Texas Labor Code prohibits employers from discriminating against or discharging an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim in good faith, hiring a lawyer to represent them in a claim, instituting or causing to be instituted in good faith a proceeding under the Texas Workers' Compensation Act, or testifying in such a proceeding. If an employer violates these provisions, the employee may be entitled to reinstatement, compensation for lost wages, and other damages.
The OSH Act was enacted to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health. Under the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. OSHA sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires them to keep their workplaces free of serious recognized hazards. This Act gives workers the right to safe working conditions, to receive information and training about hazards and their prevention, and to exercise their rights without fear of retaliation.
The General Duty Clause requires each employer to furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees. This clause is used by OSHA to cite violations that are not covered by a specific standard but where the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent or abate a recognized hazard.
Section 11(c) of the OSH Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising a variety of rights guaranteed under the OSH Act, such as filing a safety and health complaint with OSHA, participating in an inspection, or reporting a work-related injury or illness. If retaliation occurs, the employee must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged retaliation. OSHA will then investigate the complaint and can order remedies if retaliation is found to have occurred.
29 CFR Part 1904 outlines the requirements for recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses. Employers with more than ten employees and whose establishments are not classified as a partially exempt industry must record serious work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA forms. This information helps employers, workers, and OSHA evaluate the safety of a workplace, understand industry hazards, and implement worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards.
OSHA standards are rules that describe the methods employers are legally required to follow to protect their workers from hazards. There are four groups of OSHA standards: General Industry (29 CFR 1910), Maritime (29 CFR 1915, 1917, 1918), Construction (29 CFR 1926), and Agriculture (29 CFR 1928). These standards are designed to protect workers from a wide range of hazards, including exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions.