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Do I have the right to refuse hazardous working conditions?

As a Pennsylvania worker, your employer is obligated to ensure your place of work remains safe and secure at all times. However, in the event that you do encounter hazardous working conditions that could possibly cause an injury to you or your fellow workers, you do have the right to refuse dangerous tasks until the issue has been rectified.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, you are permitted to refuse work under certain circumstances. However, a number of conditions must be met in order for your refusal of work to be considered valid. Timeliness can be a factor in this case, as it often takes some time for site inspections to occur. To this end, urgent work threats can be refused until proper reporting has occurred.

You are also obligated to notify your employer that a particular condition poses a hazard, and any potential hazards must be considered a real threat by others. You must also believe that a significant chance of harm exists if you continue to undertake the task in question. This is known as a “good faith” refusal, which exhibits that you truly feel that you are in immediate danger.

Once a dangerous condition has been identified, you must notify all relevant parties. This includes your work site supervisors as well OSHA. At this point you can request that your supervisor move you onto another task or address the reported hazard. If your supervisor fails to remedy the issue, it’s best to remain at your place of work until which time you are dismissed. 

In the event you’re injured due to unsafe conditions within your workplace, contacting a workers’ compensation lawyer for more information is recommended. 

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