Refusal of unsafe work

Employees have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you reasonably believe that performing a work process or using a tool or machine is unsafe, you must not perform the job or task and immediately notify your supervisor or employer, who then must immediately investigate the matter.

WorkSafeBC has established a process which can involve up to three investigation steps for resolving an issue of unsafe work as outlined in this flowchart.

NEW - Written Notification to Other Employees

During the investigation process and until the matter has been fully resolved, the employer/supervisor must not permit or assign another employee to do the refused work unless written notification is provided to the other employee which includes all of the following: 

  • the refusal;
  • the unsafe condition that has been reported;
  • the reasons why the work would not create an undue hazard to the health and safety of other employees or any other person;
  • the right of the other employee to refuse unsafe work.

The written notification must also be provided to an employee member of the joint local safety committee, and the employee's union representative.

Managers and supervisors are encouraged to contact  for assistance on resolving a work refusal and to ensure all the required steps are followed.