If you believe that you are being asked to work in unsafe conditions by your employer, you may wonder what you can do to resolve the situation without potentially affecting your employment. In Minnesota, you have the right to bring these unsafe conditions to the attention of your employer without fear of an unjust retaliation.
According to the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry Occupational Safety and Health Administration, if you are exposed to an imminent danger, you may refuse to work under those conditions until they are resolved. To gain the protection of these laws, workers must first notify their employers of the dangerous conditions, after which the employer must fail to remedy the situation. Additionally, to be considered imminent danger, your workplace must employ practices or conditions that could be reasonably expected to cause you or another employee serious bodily harm or death within a short period of time. Other instances in which there is a potential danger are not usually covered under these laws. If you refuse to work in these conditions and are not reassigned to other tasks, you are still entitled to receive pay for those tasks if inspectors rule that you would indeed have been in imminent threat of danger.
Alternatively, you may also contact Minnesota OSHA to file a complaint and request that your workplace be inspected for potential hazards and safety violations. To do this, you can simply visit the MDLI website and fill out the online complaint form, or fax a completed from to your OSHA regional or area office. OSHA will not disclose your name or other personal information after you submit a complaint if that is your wish. This may help prevent you from becoming the victim of illegal retaliation from your employer.