Wisconsin Safe-Place Statute

Wisconsin’s Safe-Place Statute is Wisconsin’s original workplace safety law. Under this statute, an employer must do all of the following at any locations where its employees perform work:

  • Provide a safe place of employment (for both employees and visitors)
  • Furnish and use safety devices and safeguards
  • Adopt and use reasonably adequate methods and processes to make the workplace safe
  • Maintain the workplace to ensure that it is safe
  • To do anything else that is reasonably necessary to life, health, safety, and general welfare of employees and visitors

Employees are prohibited from doing any of the following:

  • Tampering with or removing a safety device or other safeguard
  • Interfering with the use of such devices by other individuals, or interfering with the use of any method or process adopted by the employer for protection of its employees or non-trespassing visitors
  • Failing or neglecting to do everything reasonably necessary to protect life, health, safety, or the general welfare of employees or visitors

Although a violation of Wisconsin’s Safe-Place Statute could form the basis of a tort action against an employer (by an employee, non-employee third party, or visitor), it is pre-empted by the OSHAct. Therefore, no Wisconsin agency enforces the Safe-Place Statute. However, Wisconsin’s Safe-Place Statute still remains viable in the context of Wisconsin workers’ compensation law and Wisconsin’s Workers’ Compensation Act.