A worker can cease work
A worker can refuse to carry out work or stop the work they’re doing if they have a reasonable concern that doing the work would expose them to a serious health and safety risk arising from an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard.
A worker who has ceased carrying out work must:
- tell the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) they’ve ceased work, as soon as possible
- remain available to carry out suitable alternative work.
A PCBU can offer the worker suitable alternative work until they can resume normal duties. This work must be:
- safe and appropriate for the worker
- either at the same workplace they normally work at or at another workplace.
For example, if a PCBU offers a worker alternative work that requires them to drive a forklift, the worker must have a high risk work licence.
Employment entitlements (such as authorised leave and superannuation benefits) are not affected in any way if a worker has ceased unsafe work, provided the worker hasn’t unreasonably failed to comply with a direction to carry out suitable alternative work.
When a HSR can direct a worker to cease work
A HSR can only direct work to cease if they have completed an approved HSR training course.
A HSR may direct a worker in their work group to cease work if the HSR has a reasonable concern that doing the work would expose the worker to a serious risk arising from an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard.
Before issuing the direction, the HSR must consult with the workers’ PCBU to attempt to resolve the matter. This may involve:
- following the workplace’s agreed issue resolution procedure or the procedure set out in Resolving issues
- issuing a provisional improvement notice (PIN)
- calling a WorkSafe Tasmania inspector to help resolve the matter.
Consulting with the PCBU doesn’t apply if the risk is so serious, immediate or imminent that there is no time. In this case, the HSR must consult as soon as practicable after giving the direction to cease work.
The HSR must always inform the PCBU of any direction to cease unsafe work.