As we head into the end of week 2 of COVID-19 Pandemic, we are hearing you and your concerns. There have been many questions about what is unsafe work. Attached is a Work Safe fact sheet on refusing the right to unsafe work.
Please remember the following when assessing if your situation is unsafe work:
Reasonable cause to believe: assess the situation as a reasonable person, exercising good faith judgment with respect to the hazard with due regard to the worker’s training and experience.
Reasonable cause to believe and the susceptible worker: the situation needs to be assessed to whether the worker has reasonable cause to believe the work presents an undue hazard is to be applied in the context of the person’s specific health condition. There needs to be a clear connection between the undue hazard asserted by the susceptible worker, and his or her health condition
Factors that may be considered in the COVID-19 context include:
- the state of the COVID-19 containment situation in the worker’s particular city, region, province and workplace at the time the refusal to work is being exercised
- the age and health of the specific worker
- the type of workplace and type of work
- the duties or tasks performed
- the number of workers at the workplace and whether or not social distancing is possible
- the measures adopted by the employer
- if the worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2
- whether the worker or the circumstances fall in one of the legislative exceptions to the right to refuse unsafe work
I hope this fact sheet helps answer some of the questions many of you have.
Stay safe and healthy.
President, CUPE Local 374