There are jobs that you cannot do without some level of risk or danger. If you’re a truck driver, for instance, there’s always a chance you could get involved in an accident. If you’re a roofer, there’s always a chance you could be injured in a fall. It comes with the job.
But what if things are just excessively dangerous and your boss insists that you work anyway? What if you know that conditions are not up to code or that unauthorized methods are being used? What if protection systems are being neglected? Can you refuse to work on the grounds that you shouldn’t have to put yourself at that much risk just for a paycheck?
For valid fears, you can refuse
Yes, you can refuse to work. There are some steps to take first, such as telling your employer about the risk or asking for an OSHA inspection. If there’s no time for that inspection, though, and your boss won’t fix the dangerous conditions, then you do not have to do the job.
Your boss may threaten to fire you if you won’t do the job, or they may retaliate by cutting your hours, blocking you from promotions or other things of this nature. This is also illegal, and there are steps you can take if they treat you this way.
What if you still get injured at work?
Unfortunately, risks are not always obvious and injuries can happen even in apparently safe situations. If you do get hurt on the job, then it is important to know all about your rights to workers’ compensation. Don’t let your employer’s attitude about your situation deprive you of the rights you are due.