In certain occupations, the inherent risks and hazards can pose significant danger to workers. From handling heavy equipment to dealing with toxic chemicals, some job roles carry a higher likelihood of workplace injuries.
However, even in these high-risk jobs, employees have the right to refuse to perform certain tasks if their employers fail to provide necessary safety measures. This blog post aims to shed light on employees’ legal rights to refuse dangerous work and explores the steps to protect themselves in such situations. Contact PLBSH at (800) 435-7542 if you require a free legal consultation from an employment law attorney.
The Right to Refuse Dangerous Work
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employees have the legal right to refuse work that presents an imminent risk of death or serious physical harm. However, specific conditions must be met for this right to be exercised:
- Employer’s failure to eliminate the danger: Employees must have previously alerted the employer about the hazardous conditions and the employer has failed to take appropriate corrective actions.
- Good faith refusal: Employees must genuinely believe that an immediate danger exists and that performing the task would pose a significant risk of death or serious injury.
- Reasonable perception of danger: A reasonable person would agree that the potential danger is real and could result in severe harm.
- Insufficient time for enforcement channels: The situation does not allow enough time for regular enforcement channels to address and rectify the hazard.
Exercising Your Right to Refuse Dangerous Work
If you find yourself in a situation where you are asked to perform a task that poses a serious risk, such as entering an excavated trench without proper reinforcement, it is crucial to take the following steps:
- Request corrective action: Politely ask your employer to address the hazard or assign you alternative work that does not pose a danger. Clearly communicate that you cannot proceed until the hazard is corrected.
- Stay at the job site: Unless instructed otherwise by your employer, remain at the job site until the hazard is addressed or further directions are given.
Protection against Retaliation
Unfortunately, employers may respond to employees exercising their right to refuse dangerous work with retaliation. If you face retaliation for asserting your rights, seeking legal assistance from an experienced employment retaliation lawyer is advisable. Filing a complaint with OSHA is one available option, but it must be done within 30 days of the alleged retaliation. Consulting with an employment retaliation lawyer will help you determine the best course of action to protect your rights and seek compensation for any harm suffered due to asserting your legal rights.
Trust Us for Your Retaliation Claims
At PLBSH, our dedicated attorneys have extensive knowledge of workplace retaliation laws, including cases involving whistleblower retaliation and retaliation based on discrimination complaints. We are committed to advocating for your rights and providing steadfast support throughout the legal process.
Contact us today at (800) 435-7542 to schedule an initial consultation and discover how our team can assist you if you have experienced retaliation in your workplace.