HomeHome SearchSearch MenuMenu Our productsOur products

Take note: An employee can legally refuse to work if the workplace is dangerous

by , 30 July 2015
Under Section 14 of the OHSA, there's a duty on employees to follow lawful instruction given by their employers. You as the employer can't instruct an employee to work in unsafe conditions. If you do, he or she is entitled to refuse the task!

As the employer, it's vital you know that your employees can refuse to work if their workplace is dangerous. Read on to learn about what the MHSA says about this matter. Plus, the procedure an employee needs to follow to refuse to work and how to rectify the situation.

What the MHSA says about leaving a dangerous workplace
The Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) says in Section 23 that an employee can leave a dangerous workplace without any fear or negative consequences of victimisation.
The MHSA states as follows:
23 (1) The employee has the right to leave any working place whenever-
(a) circumstances arise at that working place which, with reasonable justification, appear to that employee to pose a serious danger to the health or safety of that employee; or
(b) the health and safety representative responsible for that working place directs that employee to leave that working place.
*********Recommended Product***********
Get your hands on the ultimate health and safety guide today and have peace of mind you're complying with health and safety laws
The Health and Safety Advisor Loose Leaf Service is a genuine practical guide that offers:
·         Prompt information of any law changes
·         Correct interpretation of the law - solutions from specialists
·         Recommendations for the correct application of the law
·         Warnings about the repercussions of not complying with the law
·         Warnings of possible hazards, certain pitfalls in the law
·         Tips to prepare for your DoL inspections
·         Samples of documents you need to prepare ...

Everything you need to ensure your health and safety information is correct and compliant! Get yours today!
What happens when an employee refuses to work
You're probably wondering if an employee can just leave the workplace. Your answer: They can't.
If an employee refuses to work, he or she must inform you (the employer). If you aren't around, they can tell their supervisor. The employee must express that they refuse because his or her working conditions are unsafe. He or she must also state why they believe the situation is unsafe.
If you as the employer don't immediately correct the situation, then the employee, supervisor, and health and safety officer must investigate the matter. They must assess the risk and control it appropriately. Until such time as this happens, the employee can refuse to work.

Related articles

Related articles

Watch And Learn

Related Products


Recommended for You 

  Quick Tax Solutions for Busy Taxpayers – 35 tax answers at a glance

Here are all the most interesting, thought-provoking and common tax questions
asked by our subscribers over the last tax year – everything from A to Z!

To download Quick Tax Solutions for Busy Taxpayers – 35 tax answers at a glance click here now >>>
  Employees always sick? How to stop it today

Make sure you develop a leave policy to regulate sick leave in your company.

BONUS! You'll find an example of the leave policy and procedure in this report.

To download Employees always sick? How to stop it today click here now >>>
  Absenteeism: Little known ways to reduce absenteeism

This FREE e-report will tell you how you can reduce absenteeism in your workplace while avoiding the CCMA and without infringing your employees' labour rights.

To download Absenteeism: Little known ways to reduce absenteeism click here now >>>
  7 Health & safety strategies to save you thousands

Don't let a health and safety incident cost you one more cent. Implement these seven
strategies in your company today.

To download 7 Health & safety strategies to save you thousands click here now >>>