WorkSafeBC amends refusal of unsafe work rules

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | August 23, 2022

VANCOUVER – WorkSafeBC has made amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) as of Aug. 22 to strengthen worker protections regarding their right to refuse unsafe work.

“All workers in British Columbia have the right to refuse work where there is reasonable cause to believe it would create an undue hazard to their health and safety,” a WorkSafeBC release stated.

Prior to the amendment, the regulation did not explicitly prohibit the reassignment of refused work or require the disclosure that another worker had refused the task due to health or safety concerns.

Under the new rules employers must notify workers in writing of any unresolved work refusal due to safety concerns and requires employers to tell the subsequent worker the specific reasons the first worker felt the task was unsafe. The employer is also required to explain why the task would not create an undue hazard to their health and safety.

The OSHR change followed extensive public and stakeholder consultation, the release stated.

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