There are certain occupations that are inherently risky, or ones that put individuals in danger more frequently than others. People who work with heavy machinery or hazardous chemicals, for example, are more likely to be injured at work than those who work at a desk.
Workers might decline to undertake particular occupations even though they are aware that they would be exposed to some danger if their employers fail to provide them with the necessary protections to complete the job safely. Can their employers fire them for doing so? Keep reading to see what an employment law attorney has to say and then contact PLBSH at (800) 435-7542 for a free legal consultation.
You Have Rights Under OSHA
Workers have a legal right to refuse to undertake risky jobs that plainly pose a risk of death or significant physical damage provided all of the following requirements are satisfied, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA:
- You have asked the employer to eliminate the danger whenever possible, and the employer has failed to do so
- You refused to work in good faith, which means you genuinely believed there was an imminent danger
- A reasonable person would agree that there is a real danger of death or serious injury
- There isn’t enough time to correct it through regular enforcement channels.
If you find yourself in this scenario — for example, if you’re required to enter a dug trench that hasn’t been adequately fortified and is in risk of collapsing — you should urge your boss to fix the hazard or assign you to another task. Tell your boss that you won’t complete the job till the danger is fixed, and that you’ll stay on the job until he or she tells you to go.
Employers Might Retaliate
Employers who are confronted with employees who are exercising their rights may retaliate against them. Employees may desire to seek legal advice from an experienced employment retaliation lawyer in this situation. In these instances, one option is to file a complaint with OSHA against the employer. Within 30 days of the claimed retaliation, OSHA complaints must be submitted.
Consult an employment retaliation lawyer to see if this is the appropriate line of action for you, or if there are alternative ways to safeguard your rights and seek damages for the harm you have experienced as a result of exercising your legal right to refuse unsafe work.
If you are in this situation, contact PLBSH at (800) 435-7542 now to request a consultation.