Refusing Unsafe Work

No employee—worker or supervisor—should work, or ask anyone else to work, in an unsafe situation, nor operate tools or equipment they believe hazardous.

Here are the four basic steps of refusing work that appears unsafe:

  1. Report the unsafe work condition to your supervisor and take reasonable steps to correct the hazardous situation
  2. Your supervisor must immediately investigate and ensure that any unsafe condition is remedied without delay. You will be informed if your supervisor considers the reported unsafe condition to be safe
  3. If you still believe the work is unsafe and decline to carry out the work assigned, your supervisor must investigate this matter with you. You may be given a temporary assignment to alternate work, without loss in pay, until the matter is resolved. You are required to accept the reassignment of work until you return to your original duties. The investigation at this step must be done with a worker member of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) or an employee selected by the employee’s union
  4. If the issue is unresolved after investigation with the committee member and you still believe it is unsafe to work, you and your supervisor must immediately notify WorkSafeBC at 1 888 621-SAFE (7233). A WorkSafeBC representative will attend the work site and investigate the work refusal. The WorkSafeBC officer may issue an inspection report or an order if they find that an undue hazard does exist, or advise the parties that no undue hazard is present and the employee can safely perform the work. Read more about working with WorkSafeBC

For more information on the work refusal process check Section 3.12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

For immediate assistance, contact the BC Public Service Agency 24-hour emergency safety line: 1 250 952-0911