Refusal of unsafe work – procedural change

August 15, 2022 | News


As of August 22, if a worker refuses unsafe work, their employer can not assign the task to another worker until they have resolved the matter. Section 3.12 Procedure for Refusal of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) will include additional written requirements to reassign refused work even if the worker has previously done the job.

Employers must advise the workers reassigned to the task, in writing, of the following:

  • Reported unsafe conditions
  • Reasons why the work would not create an undue hazard to them
  • Their right to also refuse unsafe work

The employer must also report this information to a worker member of the joint occupational safety committee or a worker selected by the worker’s trade union. When there is no safety committee or trade union, employers can report to another worker chosen by the worker before reassignment of the task.

For additional support on refusing unsafe work or other health and safety matters, please reach out to Jennifer at jderksen@safecarebc.ca.


Refusing unsafe work (WorkSafeBC)

As a worker, you have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you have reasonable cause to believe that performing a work process or using a tool or machine puts you or someone else at risk, you must not perform the job or task. You must immediately notify your supervisor or employer, who will then take the appropriate steps to determine if the work is unsafe and to remedy the situation.

As a worker, you may not be disciplined or penalized for following these steps. Your employer or supervisor may temporarily assign a new task to you, at no loss in pay.

As an employer, workers are your eyes and ears on the front line of workplace health and safety. When workers refuse work because they believe it’s unsafe, consider it an opportunity to investigate and correct a situation that could have caused harm.

Learn more about refusing unsafe work at WorkSafeBC ›