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Workplace safety counts in offshore work too

Workplace safety rules extend outside of the office and even beyond the shoreline. Commercial fishing is one of the country's most dangerous jobs, which means focusing on fishermen's safety is more important than ever. In an industry with a tough guy image, sometimes the toughest thing a man can do is speak up when something is unsafe. In fact, it's a standard workplace right and you're protected against any form of retaliation.

What is a maritime hazard?

Louisiana businesses follow federal OSHA guidelines, but maritime and longshoring industries have their own set of regulations that are specific to the trade. In general, OSHA defines a hazard as an unsafe condition in the workplace and a special committee (MACOSH) advises maritime industries on what that means in your industry, with information detailed in the Hazard Communication in the Maritime Industry Fact Sheet.

Just because the workplace setting is on the water doesn't mean that the law does not apply. OSHA's and MACOSH's rules are more complicated than a standard office or store, intended to make the industry safer. An attorney can provide a better understanding of the law, getting a professional perspective on the complicated federal guidelines in relation to your work environment.

Can my employer punish me for a complaint?

Most employers would prefer to fix a problem instead of a catastrophe, so a safe work place is important to them too. But if there's fear of retaliation, either from co-workers or from the boss, there shouldn't be.

A safe environment is a key worker's right and it's illegal for a business to take revenge against an employee who files a complaint. That's doesn't just mean you can't be fired for speaking up, it also means the company can't punish you in other ways, such as a demotion, blacklisting or harassment. If something is wrong at work, it could be a matter of life and death, which is why speaking up is essential before it's too late.

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