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How to Deal with an Unsafe Workplace

Employment Law | October 8, 2020

Under the scrutiny of WorkSafeBC, all British Columbia employees are entitled to work in a safe workplace. There are many standards that have been set in place to ensure that employees are afforded a safe and secure working environment but, at Linley Welwood, we know that these standards are not always met. If you need to know about how to deal with an unsafe workplace, it is best to contact an employment lawyer.

What to do if Your Workplace is Unsafe

In many cases, a workplace is not unsafe due to deliberate decisions made by an employer; unsafe work environments are usually due to poor judgement or negligence. In any case, it is the responsibility of the employer to maintain a safe working environment and the responsibility of the employee to refuse any work that might be deemed as unsafe, as well as to bring unsafe working environments to the attention of their employer.

Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

In British Columbia, an employee has the right to refuse work that is deemed unsafe. This includes performing any task or working in any environment that could create danger for the employee or others. If you feel that your working environment is unsafe, the steps to follow are:

1.     Notify Your Employer

If you deem that there is an unsafe working condition in your workspace or you have been given an unsafe task, the first thing that should be done to notify the employer. It is then the employer’s responsibility to immediately investigate the matter and make a decision on the safety of the situation.

2.     Continue to Refuse Work

If the situation is not satisfactorily remedied, an employee can continue to refuse to work. At this time, the employer must conduct an investigation that involves the workers’ health and safety representative.

3.     Notify a Lawyer and WorkSafeBC

If internal investigations do not resolve the matter, the employee should seek counsel from a lawyer in order to ensure that they are protected from any conflict between them and their employer moving forward. They should also notify WorkSafeBC to perform an inspection of the work in dispute.

If you feel like you might be working in an unsafe environment and want to make your voice heard, or if you would like to learn more about any of our legal services, please contact Linley Welwood at 604-850-6640 to find out more about how to deal with an unsafe workplace or by filling out a contact form on our website.


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