There are many safety regulations in California to keep the workers safe while performing job tasks. Some jobs do require people to perform more dangerous tasks than others though and others expose workers to dangerous chemicals or noises. However, there must be appropriate safety equipment available for the workers to keep them safe while performing these tasks.
For many different reasons though, employers do not always have this safety equipment available for every dangerous situation. However, they may still need a certain tasks done and still ask employees to complete the tasks. Despite this workers do still have a right to stay safe and can refuse to do the tasks if certain conditions are met.
First the employee must have asked the employer to correct the dangerous condition and the employer refused to do so. The employee also must have a good faith belief that there is a legitimate danger to their safety if they perform the task and a reasonable person would agree with them. Finally there must not be enough time to contact the proper authorities to investigate the situation.
If these conditions are met then the worker can refuse the work. The employer must allow the employee to do this as well. If they retaliate against them for exercising their rights in these situations, they may need to compensate the employee accordingly.
There are many different types of work environments in California. Some types of jobs are much more dangerous than others. However, even in the most dangerous types of jobs, employees do not need to risk their safety unreasonably. If necessary, they can even refuse to do certain tasks until the employer provides the right safety measures to keep them safe. Employers must not retaliate against employees for doing this. Experienced attorneys understand that and may be able to help protect employees' rights.
Source: www.osha.gov, "Workers' rights to refuse dangerous work" accessed on Jan. 24, 2018