A new provincial regulation requires employers to inform workers about the reason employees refused to partake in work due to safety concerns. The regulation was put forth in an Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) amendment, effective August 2022.
What are the requirements under the new regulation?
Previously, when an employee refused work due to safety concerns, employers were under no obligation to share those concerns with other employees whom they may ask to perform the same tasks.
Now, if the safety situation remains unchanged after an employee refuses the work, employers must inform any workers of the safety concerns raised by their colleague in writing. The written notification must clearly detail the employee’s concerns and clarify why the work would not be a hazard to any other employee. An employer is also required to address any safety concerns before reassigning tasks.
Why was the new regulation passed?
Prior to this regulation, employers could easily shift an unsafe task to another worker unaware of the risks. In 2019, government agencies determined this could lead to safety concerns in the workplace. The new regulation aims to prevent the pattern of reassigning refused work and gives employees more information before they accept a task that another person deemed unsafe.
Workplace health and safety issues—or perceived issues—come with the potential for serious legal ramifications. Employers must know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to preventing accidents in the workplace. Those who have questions or concerns about workplace safety regulations are encouraged to contact one of our experienced lawyers.