As of August 22, 2022, an amendment to BC’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation is in effect which creates new responsibilities for employers when workers exercise their right to refuse unsafe work.
By law, all workers in BC can refuse to perform any work they have reasonable cause to believe would create an undue hazard to their health or safety. Prior to this latest amendment, the OHS Regulation already outlined steps employers are required to take in response to work refusal, including investigating and correcting unsafe conditions. However, the legislation did not explicitly prohibit reassigning refused work, or require disclosure to any others being asked to carry out the work that it had been refused by someone else.
Under the new section added, an employer cannot reassign refused work unless the health and safety concern has been resolved (according to requirements outlined in the OHS Regulation) or the other worker that will be performing the task in question has been given written notice of the following:
- that a worker has previously refused the work
- the unsafe condition(s) reported by the individual who refused the work
- the reason(s) why the employer believes the work would not create an undue hazard
- the subsequent worker's right to refuse unsafe work
For further details on the new rules, see WorkSafeBC's newly released primer on refusing unsafe work.