Right to Refuse Dangerous Work

The general right of the employer to direct work is balanced by the requirement of employees to refuse unsafe work that presents an imminent danger to the health and safety of themselves or other employees present at the worksite. Unsafe work is work that involves an "imminent danger". Imminent danger can be a danger that is not normal for that type of work or a danger under which a worker in that type of work would not normally do the work.


  1. Employee refusing work due to imminent danger notifies their supervisor as soon as practicable the reason for the refusal.
  2. Supervisor investigates and takes action to eliminate the imminent danger.
  3. Supervisor ensures no employee is assigned to perform the work unless the employee to be assigned is not exposed to imminent danger or the imminent danger has been eliminated.
  4. Supervisor may require the employee refusing the work to remain at the worksite and may assign the employee a temporary work assignment that the employee is capable of performing.
  5. Supervisor prepares a written record of the worker's notification, the investigation, the action taken and gives the employee a copy of the record.
  6. If the employee still feels the imminent danger exists they may file a report with an Alberta OHS Officer.
  7. Officer prepares a written record of the employee's complaint, the investigation, and the action taken and gives the employee and employer a copy of the record.

Reference: Existence of imminent danger - Alberta OH&S Act Section 35