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lindagray

Cal/OSHA, Protection & Right to Refuse Hazardous Work

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Information you should provide to district
office staff:

• When you call Cal/OSHA, the information you provide
may be critical to the success of Cal/OSHA’s investigation
of the hazard. You should give the staff person the
following information:
• Name and address of your employer. Include the job site
address if it is different from the mailing address.
• Where the hazard is located at the job site. Example:
“The table saw in room 12.”
• When the hazardous operation or condition occurs.
Example: “We use this solvent to clean every Friday
afternoon.”
• Description of the hazard. You do not need to know the
legal requirements. You only need to state the problem.
Examples: “Bad brakes on forklift,” or “no fall protection.” 

 

Right to Refuse Hazardous Work
In addition to filing a complaint, you have the right to refuse
hazardous work. It is illegal for your employer to punish
you for refusing to perform hazardous work if both of the
following are true:
1. Performing the work would violate a Cal/OSHA health or
safety regulation.
2. The violation would create a “real and apparent hazard”
to you or your coworkers.
When these conditions are met, you have the right to
refuse to perform the work. But before you refuse, you
should take the following steps:
• Tell your supervisor about the hazard and ask that it be
corrected.
• Explain that you are willing to continue working if the
hazard is corrected or you are assigned other work
that is safe.
• State that you believe a health or safety regulation is
being violated.
• Contact your union shop steward, if you have one.
If the problem is not fixed, call Cal/OSHA and
file a complaint.


Protection Against Retaliation
It is also illegal for your employer to threaten, discharge,
demote, or suspend you for reporting hazards to your
employer, filing a complaint with Cal/OSHA, or otherwise
exercising your rights to a safe and healthful workplace. If
your employer discriminates or retaliates against you for
exercising these rights, you have the right to file a complaint
with the California Labor Commissioner, also called the
Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. The Labor
Commissioner may be able to recover wages owed to you
and help you get your job back. In most cases, you must file
your complaint within six months of the retaliation.
View a listing of Labor Commissioner offices and contact
the office nearest your workplace.

safety job 3.jpg

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