Hopefully, you will never be put into a position at work where you are asked to do something you think is incredibly dangerous. If you are, though, do you have to do it? Your boss is in charge, so you probably feel a lot of pressure to just swallow your fears and get the work done.
Here’s the reality: You do not have to subject yourself to that type of danger. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that you can refuse the job if:
- You asked your employer to make the job safer by eliminating the risk, and they could not or would not do so.
- You recognized a clear, imminent danger and you refused the job “in good faith.”
- The danger is so obvious that you’re not the only one claiming there is a risk. A reasonable third party would back up your claims. For instance, if an OSHA inspector examined the site, they would quickly spot and agree with the danger.
- You can’t ask for an inspection from OSHA because you do not have time to do so.
In short, OSHA wants workers to report dangerous conditions so that they can conduct a proper investigation. However, they also understand that some workers are under pressure to do a job immediately and cannot take any time to have an inspection carried out. Those workers still need a way to stay safe and protect themselves, so they can legally refuse the work.
Even so, on-the-job accidents lead to injuries every day. Injured workers must know all of their rights to compensation.