Steps to Refuse Unsafe Work COVID-19

Tell your supervisor immediately about the unsafe condition/work and explain why you believe it to be unsafe.  Tell them you do not believe that proper precaution has been undertaken to protect you from accidental exposure to COVID-19. Be specific as you can.

For example, this could include but isn't limited too.

·       The employer is not enforcing physical distancing (2 meters)
·       The employer is not providing proper PPE to prevent accidental transmission of the virus
·       The employer is not providing proper training for the use a PPE


  •  Step 1 Clearly inform your supervisor that you are exercising your right to refuse unsafe work under section 3.12 of the BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. (explain why)
  • Step 2 Your supervisor must investigate the situation immediately. If they agree the work is unsafe, they must fix the problem without delay. If your supervisor disagrees that the work is unsafe, it is your right/decision to proceed to the next step of the process.
  • Step 3 Your supervisor and a Union member of the safety committee (or a worker of your choice if a committee member is unavailable), must investigate the reason for the work refusal and attempt to resolve it. If you are not in agreement with solutions, it is solely your right/decision if the refusal will advance to the next step!
  • Step 4 If the worker who engages in the right to refuse is not in agreement with proposed solutions it is their right to advance the refusal to the last step and the employer must involve a WorkSafeBC officer who will attend the site on an expedited basis. The WorkSafeBC prevention will investigate the reason for refusal and make a ruling. The prevention officer’s decision is final and must be followed.

The Employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against you for asserting that work is unsafe.

There are "no discrimination" provisions in the Workers' Compensation Act (sections 150-153) to protect workers from any adverse treatment due to a work refusal. In addition, a worker cannot lose pay while asserting their rights under the refusal of unsafe work provisions in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

IMPORTANT: If you are exercising this right in your workplace, please keep your JSHC members, steward and your Local Union informed. These resources and staff can assist you with your concerns and support you through this process.




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