The Right to Refuse to Work in Unsafe Conditions

By Bob Price
Published: May 7, 2008

  • Worker reports problem to supervisor and remains in a safe place.
  • Supervisor, worker’s safety rep, or committee member, and worker investigate the situation.
  • Worker returns to work if he/she deems the situation is no longer dangerous.

If parties reach an impasse:

  • Worker continues to refuse, if reasonable grounds remain.
  • Worker stays in safe place.
  • Ministry of Labour Inspector requested by worker, worker’s safety rep, or employer investigate refusal.
  • Inspector conducts investigation in consulation with all parties.
  • Worker may be assigned alternative work pending investigation and decision.
  • Inspector issues written decision.
  • Worker returns to work following completion of required action.

Additional information available on the web:

The Workers Health & Safety Centre Ontario, Canada

Ontario Ministry of Labour Occupational Health and Safety