You know that there are going to be risks that you have to take on the job. Maybe you’re a construction worker and you know that you’re going to have to climb ladders, or perhaps you’re a roofer and you know that you’re going to have to work at heights all the time.
But what if your boss asks you to do something that seems exceptionally dangerous, going well beyond the level of risk that you’ve accepted with your profession? For instance, maybe you can tell that the ladder is old and damaged, but they tell you that you have to climb it anyway because it’s the only one on-site. You believe you’re going to fall and suffer serious head or spinal cord injuries, and you don’t want to climb the ladder. Can you refuse to do a job that is too dangerous?
You can refuse to do the job
You are absolutely allowed to refuse to do work as long as you honestly believe that it is far too dangerous and your employer has refused to fix the problem. The first thing you should do is tell them that you simply don’t feel comfortable on that ladder, for instance, so that they can bring a different one to the site. If they won’t do it, then you tried to make the job safe and found it impossible, so you can refuse to do that job.
What if you’ve already been injured?
Many employees find it hard to turn down work if it seems dangerous, perhaps because they’re afraid of getting fired. If you were pressured into doing something that resulted in serious injuries on the job, then you need to know about all of your potential rights to workers’ compensation.