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Help! My construction workers are refusing to work.

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2022 | Business Law, Commercial Law

Running a construction company or real estate company is complicated. The number of rules and regulations in that industry is mind boggling. Though, the one thing that investors and developers may never think about is their workers refusing to work, but, as it turns out, in some situations, workers can, indeed, refuse to work. This could potentially delay projects, backing up scheduled deliveries and contractors, and maybe even, violating contracts. This could, in turn, lead to breach of contract lawsuits or other types of business litigation.

How can my workers refuse to work?

According to OSHA, it is your responsibility to ensure that your Plano workers have a safe and healthy work environment. And, if there is a dangerous condition that presents an imminent danger to your workers of serious bodily injury or death, they are empowered to refuse to work.

What kind of conditions qualify?

The dangerous must be imminently dangerous, meaning it must be a danger that is clear and present, to a degree that a reasonable person would agree. And, that danger must rise to the level of deadly, or at least, seriously dangerous. This means that, should one of your workers work in that condition, they would risk life and limb.

Is it a unilateral allowance?

No. Texas employees cannot simply show up, see the condition and then, leave. Instead, they must first let you know about that danger. Then, it is up to you to mitigate the condition, eliminate the danger, have the employees do alternative work or send them to another place to work. If you do not, they will likely contact OSHA, and then, tell you that they refuse to work.

What then?

If you do not correct the dangerous Plano, Texas, condition, you could be liable to OSHA and other state regulatory agencies, should their investigation reveal that this dangerous condition, in fact, did/does exist. And, if you then retaliate against that employee for telling you about the condition, you and your business could be separately liable.

What should I do?

For most Collin County businesses, the best course of action is to first, assign your workers to another worksite or to different duties. After providing these accommodations to your works, immediately correct the dangerous condition. If it will require a third-party, have the area blocked off to ensure no one is injured. Now that you are on notice of the danger, you likely have liability, should an injury actually occurs.