How to refuse unsafe work

Steps to refuse unsafe work

  1. Tell your supervisor immediately about the unsafe work. Explain why you believe the work to be unsafe and that you are exercising your rights to refuse unsafe work under Section 3.12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. You may be assigned to do other work.
  2. Your supervisor must immediately investigate. If they agree that the work is unsafe they must fix the problem.
  3. If the supervisor disagrees that the work is unsafe then the supervisor, a JOHSC worker representative and you must investigate the problem together.
  4. If there is agreement that the work is unsafe, it must be dealt with as quickly as possible.
  5. If there is no agreement that the work is unsafe, and you still believe it is, then both you and the supervisor must notify an officer from WorkSafeBC. The officer must investigate the matter without undue delay and issue orders if necessary.

Remember:

  • You are not refusing to work. You are refusing to do the task or activity that you believe puts yourself or anyone else at risk of injury.
  • While your concern is being investigated, you may be assigned to temporary alternative work at no loss of pay, until the matter is resolved.
  • You cannot be disciplined in any way for exercising your right to refuse unsafe work even if WorkSafeBC decides the work is safe.

Download the "How to refuse unsafe work" fact sheet.