You may work in a profession where there is always a risk of injury. In fact, even office workers and others in low-risk occupations can be injured on the job. Those who work in construction or other high-risk occupations simply have higher odds.
No matter what job you do, though, you may feel that some of the tasks that your boss asks you to do are simply too dangerous to be reasonable. Maybe they are asking you to break safety protocols, such as suggesting that you don’t wear personal protection equipment. Or perhaps they want you to work around dangerous machines that you don’t feel competent with.
Many workers still attempt to do these dangerous jobs, despite their fears, worrying that they will be fired if they refuse. But it’s important to know that you do have a right to refuse dangerous work if you have a good-faith reason to do so.
Is your reason valid?
There are four key areas that you need to consider when determining if your fear is justified and you can refuse to do the work:
- You requested a change to reduce the risk, and your employer would not or could not do it.
- You have a genuine fear of serious injury.
- Any reasonable person who was asked about the job would agree with you.
- You can’t carry out an OSHA inspection because there simply isn’t time.
If all of these things are true, then you can refuse to do the work. If you have already been injured, though, then it may be time to look into your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.