In some professions, you have to take risks. Construction workers know that they’re in danger when working at heights, for instance, or when using power tools. You cannot always avoid these risks.
That said, there are often safeguards in place to reduce the risk. Workers are given fall protection equipment or issued tools that have guards on them. Nothing will be 100% safe, with no risk, but workers also know that everything possible has been done to keep them safe.
But what happens if you’re told to do something that is clearly more dangerous than it needs to be? Say that you’re working on a construction project and the fall protection system has been taken down, but then your supervisor notices one more task that needs to be completed. They tell you to quickly climb up to a dangerous height with no protection since it would take too long to rig everything back up. Do you have to do it?
You can refuse
You do have a right to refuse a dangerous task. First, you should ask your supervisor to make it safe — in this example, asking them to wait and rig the fall protection system again. If they will not do so, you do not have to follow orders and do the job. You can refuse, and they cannot fire you for doing so if you refused in good faith.
You can seek workers’ compensation after an injury
As noted, though, it is impossible to avoid all dangers or make every worksite 100% safe. If you do get injured on the job, you can seek workers’ comp benefits.