If you are injured while on the job, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should pay for your medical treatment and compensate you for your injuries and associated losses. However,this doesn’t always happen automatically. Because workers’ compensation must approve your medical treatment, including the doctors you see and the procedures allowed, you may have to wait for treatment or not be able to get the care you feel you need.
Getting legal guidance to manage your workers’ compensation claim from the onset of your injury is always a good idea. An attorney can ensure that your claim is not pushed to the bottom of the priority list and see to it that you get the proper care and settlement you deserve.
That being said, no one wants to be injured on the job, or anywhere else for that matter. So what should you do if your boss requires you to work in an environment that you believe is unsafe? Do you have to agree to work in it, knowing that you are in imminent danger? Will the Occupational Safety and Health Administration back you up if you refuse to work?
Employers are accountable to follow OSHA guidelines, but OSHA does not necessarily have to enforce your rights as an employee for you to refuse to work. If you believe the workplace is unsafe, you should talk to your employer first. If the employer does not correct the problem, then you should file a complaint with OSHA. By refusing to work in an unsafe environment, you may find yourself facing disciplinary actions by your employer.
However, If you seriously believe, in good faith, that you are in imminent danger, it is within your right to refuse to work. However, you should be aware that if the workplace is not found to be dangerous, you must prove that you had reasonable grounds for feeling like your safety was threatened. There are certain conditions that should be met before you refuse to perform your duties. See the OSHA website for more information regarding those conditions.
If you are discriminated against by your employer for your refusal to work in an unsafe environment, and all conditions listed on the OSHA website have been met, you should seek legal guidance. The company may be liable for discrimination if you acted in “good faith.”