We all – well, most of us, anyway – have other things we would prefer to do rather than go to work. At the same time, most of us do not have a choice – we must go to work. When we get to work, though, we should be able to do our work safely, in a safe environment. What if that is not the case, though? Do we have the right to refuse to work because the working conditions are dangerous?
Can We Refuse to Work?
Sure we can – we can refuse to do anything. The more accurate question, however, is whether we could be justified in our refusal to work in conditions that are unsafe. The answer to this question is slightly more complex. According to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), refusing to work because of working conditions that may be unsafe is typically not a covered right. In some cases though, it could be. OSHA suggests that if there is a working condition that you believe it not safe, you should first let your employer know about the situation so that they have the opportunity to correct the situation. If the employer does not fix the problem, an employee has the right to file a complaint with OSHA. The right to refuse to work is different if an employee believes that they are in imminent danger by performing their job – in that case, if the employee has good reason to believe that they are in imminent danger, even if it turns out there was no imminent danger, he or she may refuse to do a job.
What Should You Do If You Believe There Is Imminent Danger?
If your work conditions are unsafe and you believe that you would be in imminent danger if you performed your work, you may be protected from discrimination or termination if you follow specific procedures. An employer has the responsibility to provide and maintain a safe working environment for its employees, so if a condition exists that does not meet this standard, an employee should first ask the employer to fix the situation and, in the meantime, to provide other work. The employee also needs to tell the employer that he or she will not do the original work until the hazardous conditions are corrected. Lastly, the employee absolutely needs to remain at the job until he or she is instructed to leave the worksite.
Workplace Accidents Occur Unexpectedly – When They Do, Contact Bader Law Firm, LLC
Many times there is simply no advance warning of hazardous conditions, and accidents happen without any time to think about reusing to work. Dangerous conditions can arise quickly and, when they do, employees can be injured without even realizing their working conditions have become dangerous. When injured on the job, you are entitled to certain benefits through workers’ compensation, which may include money for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured on the job, the professionals at Bader Law Firm, LLC can help you to know what you are entitled to receive. Contact us online or by calling now to learn your rights.