Health and Safety in the Idaho Workplace
Each employer in Idaho has a duty to maintain a healthy and safe workplace. Not only will doing so help support a happy and healthy company workforce but it is legally required. Idaho workplaces must conform to a variety of federal and state regulations, whose goal is to help keep all employees safe from danger and harm by reducing risks of accidents and illnesses in the workplace. Employers who do not comply with these laws run the risk of being subjected to monetary fines and private lawsuits. In some circumstances, employers can also be subject to criminal penalties, including imprisonment.Laws Regarding Workplace Safety
Although not an exhaustive list of laws each business owner in Idaho should be aware of, the following are a few laws that address health and safety concerns:
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). This federal law is perhaps the most prominent law pertaining to health and safety in the private sector as well as in the federal government. This legislation creates many rights for workers and places many obligations on their employers. Its goal is to ensure that employers maintain a work environment that is free from recognized and dangerous hazards and that they comply with rules and regulations issued pursuant to OSHA. It addresses use and maintenance of tools, labels and other warnings for potential hazards, safety training requirements, and many other measures to ensure safety for workers in Idaho and throughout the United States. Each state is able to administer its own job safety and health programs, which are called “State Plans,” so long as they meet various minimum federal requirements, but Idaho does not have a State Plan. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration approves a State Plan if is at least as effective as the federal program.
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Most Idaho employers are subject to this law, which addresses other workplace conditions and helps prevent the exploitation of workers. For example, it prevents employers from underpaying employees as well as overworking employees without providing additional compensation. Minimum wage under the FLSA and the Idaho Minimum Wage Law state that employees must be paid at least $7.25 per hour. The FLSA also requires time-and-a-half pay after 40 hours worked each week. In addition, the FLSA protects minors by imposing minimum age restrictions for employment, restrictions on what times of day minors may work, and limitations on what types of jobs minors may perform.
- Mine Safety and Health Act. This is a much more specific federal law that applies to mining and mineral processing operations, providing various protections to workers in mines across the United States. It addresses inspections of mines, miner training, mine rescue teams, and other health and safety activities in mines. This federal law also creates the Mine Safety and Heath Administration (MSHA), which administers and enforces this act.
With the help of experienced legal counsel, Idaho employers can receive proper counsel on how to avoid legal problems. As is often said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Such guidance from an attorney may reveal that additional equipment or warnings are necessary, such as safety guards or labels on harmful chemicals. It may also reveal that outdated practices should be replaced with newer ones, such as proper storage practices for dangerous materials. Perhaps a better training plan will improve safety and ensure proper compliance with federal and other laws.Defending Against Claims
Even after reasonable and proper procedures are taken, accidents occur, and legal claims arise. Our team of Idaho Employment and Labor Law attorneys at Racine Olson are very familiar with Idaho and federal laws regarding workplace claims related to workplace safety. Our team includes Lane Erickson, who is a partner at Racine Olson and who enjoys the highest possible rating of “AV” by Martindale Hubbell and from AVVO and JUSTIA for his ethics and legal ability. In addition, Nolan Wittrock has high ratings from clients and peers on AVVO and JUSTIA and are experienced in all employment matters, including health and safety concerns. If you have a need, give one of them a call. They can be reached toll-free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 and are willing to provide a free consultation. You can also contact them by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help solve your problems—and prevent many of them before they occur.