Can we stop work on a construction site, if it is too dangerous?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2022 | Construction Accidents, Personal Injury

Construction workers are tradesmen and tradeswomen. They know when a construction worksite is dangerous, and they know when it is too dangerous to work. But, does the law provide an option to refuse to work on the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, worksite?


The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration actually has a rule that allows workers to refuse to work if there is an immediate and sufficiently dangerous work condition present. This allows Baton Rouge, Louisiana, workers to avoid construction site accidents before they happen.

Immediate Threat

The workplace condition must be an immediate threat. This means that, if the worker were to attempt to work with the condition present, they would be immediately hurt, which means OSHA would not have time to inspect it without a worker being injured. For example, there is exposed wiring in a wet environment.

Sufficiently dangerous

The danger that threat poses must be sufficiently dangerous to qualify, which means workers have the potential to lose their life or limb. For example, in the exposed wiring example above, an electric shock could kill a worker.

The work stoppage

Immediately after seeing the dangerous work condition, report it to your employer. Ask to work at an alternate worksite or on an alternate project, away from the dangerous condition. Keep in mind though, that refusal must be made in good faith, which means that you believe that the danger is imminent and it risks life and limb.

It must also be apparent to a reasonable person as well, and there is no time for OSHA to inspect the threat. If that is the case, and if the employer refuses both requests and does not eliminate the threat, you can likely refuse to work.

You can likely tell your employer that you are refusing to work because of that danger. Do not leave the worksite though. Make it apparent and explicit that you want to work, that you are able to work, but that you simply cannot work where that danger is present.

Stay there until your supervisor, foreman, manager, etc. orders you off the premises. And, of course, report this all to OSHA, including any demand to leave the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, premises.