Refusing unsafe work

Last updated: May 10, 2021

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

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

This number is for employees of the BC Provincial Government and their managers only.  If you are not employed by the BC Provincial Government please call WorkSafeBC at 1-888-621-SAFE (7233)

Procedure for refusing unsafe work

  • Report the unsafe work condition to your supervisor
  • Your supervisor must immediately investigate and ensure that any unsafe condition is remedied as soon as possible

Your supervisor must let you know if they think the reported unsafe condition is safe.

If you still believe the work is unsafe and decline to carry out the work assigned, your supervisor must investigate this matter with you:

  • 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
  • You may be given a temporary assignment to alternate work, without loss in pay, until the matter is resolved. You must accept the reassignment until you return to your original duties
  • Your supervisor must let you know about the investigation results

If the issue isn't resolved after investigation with the committee member and you still believe it's 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 they will advise that no undue hazard is present and the employee can safely perform the work

For more information about work refusal, read Section 3.12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

Learn more about work safety with WorkSafeBC