When employees report for work, it also carries an assumption that their workplace is safe and hazard free. However, this is not the case most of the time. According to the website of Hach & Rose, LLP, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for their employees and if they fail should be liable for any repercussions of any accidents and injuries in the workplace.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), workers have the right to refuse their work if they deem that the workplace has unsafe working conditions. This right applies to all workers except those workers in specified circumstances which may include law enforcers, firefighters, those working in correctional institutions and similar institutions, and healthcare workers and those working in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar facilities.
When your workplace is deemed unsafe, you can file a complaint with the OSHA regarding the hazardous working condition. It is advisable that you should not leave the workplace if you have filed a complaint. Your right to refuse work is protected by law as long as it meets the following conditions:
- You have asked the employer to remove the hazard and they failed to do so
- You refused to work in “good faith: meaning that you truly believe in the existence of imminent danger
- A reasonable person would agree that there is indeed a real danger of death or serious injury
- There is not enough time , due to its urgent nature, to correct the hazard through regular enforcement channels, such as requesting an OSHA inspection.
You should take the following steps:
- Request your employer to correct the hazard or give you another work
- Tell your employer that you will not perform the work unless the hazard is corrected
- Stay at your workplace until you are ordered to leave by your employer
For your refusal to work, your employer cannot retaliate against you. If they do so, you can contact a Rhode Island construction accident attorney to file the necessary legal claim against your employer.Read More