I hope someone out there will be able to help me.
My question is: If you need an item in order to work (example: an allergy mask, because you are having trouble breathing with the enviornment you work in) does your employer have to provide that item?
Here is the background:
I am a home health aide (Nurses Aide) and I work in someone's home. Unfortunatly, the client I work for smokes like a chimney. I am currently having a lot of problems breathing while I am in his home. While he is smoking, and even when he is not. I asked my employer about this before and they said leave the room while he smokes and periodically go out to get fresh air. Well this can not happen because my client falls a sleep with his ciggerettes sometimes. When I told them this, they told me to make sure I am always around when he smokes, but to open a window or door. Well, per the client I am not able to open a window or door because the special bed my client is in will harden and not do it's job.
I am so tired of feeling like I can't breath and having splitting headaches at the end of my shift.
The client used to have an air purifier, however needs the plug for another medical item now and cannot have the purifier plugged in anymore.
I thought if I could get a mask to wear during my shift this would help me greatly. But I am not sure of how to go about it.
I hope someone is able to help me on this one .
Thanks in advance!
If your workplace is causing personal health issues, then they are violating your right to a safe and healthful workplace. I'm pretty sure your employer would have to supply you with a suitable mask, or sufficient alternative, or you can file a complaint.
The first link is employer responsibilities under the OSHA Act. The second link is a guide to help you find out about your rights.
OSHA just passed an amendment that clarifies what an employer must provide to an employee for personal protective equipment. I work in construction and I know that according to the Construction OSHA regs (which went into effect May 15th, 200 this would count as an employeer having to pay for the appropriate mask/resperator because it is your everyday working conditions that are not brought on my you, and can cause harm to your health.
I do not have a General Industries book with me (sorry only have the construction one)
I would imagine though if it passed in the Construction side it might have passed in the general also.
I would highly suggest to call your local OSHA office and get this clarified by them. You can call annonymously and they should be able to answer any questions you have.
You might try searching www.osha.gov but it can be confusing.
My mother is an RN and the OR Educator at a hospital here in SA. She'll know. I'll ask her tonight.
Okay, she actually just called as I posted my last reply. She said that your employer has to provide appropriate personal protective equipment, which she said would be a high-filtration mask in your case. My mom has to keep up with OSHA for her job.
Thank you all for your help!
Do you know if I would need something from a doctor stating that this is harmful or if they are required, since I am not a smoker?
It would definitely help if you had a doctor's note, but it is not required. Your employer may request one. However, if you file a grievance with OSHA, they would probably still cite your employer whether a doctor's note had been provided or not.