Labor laws, also called employment laws, regulate the relationship between employers and employees. This body of Federal and state labor laws, agency regulations and judicial decisions dictate how employers, employees and their trade unions interact, mainly to prevent discrimination and ensure fair treatment and a safe workplace environment for employees.
Employees have the right to expect that their employer will offer a reasonably safe environment in which to work, even though some workplaces or occupations may be inherently more dangerous. If you are in an industry such as construction, mining, manufacturing, transportation, fishing, logging or agriculture you may be at increased risk for workplace injuries. Labor laws ensure employers comply with safety regulations to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses from exposure to toxins in the workplace.
One of the most important labor laws is the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, also known as the OSH Act. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) administers this labor law by setting mandatory safety standards employers must meet, including standards for safety training and personal protective equipment. The OSH Act also gives OSHA the power to conduct inspections, issue citations and levy fines when employers are in violation of these standards with conditions or practices that pose a threat to employees.
Despite labor laws and regulations meant to prevent workers from getting hurt at work, about 5,000 workers die on the job and thousands more suffer workplace injuries each year.