Do teachers have the right to refuse work when they are concerned about their personal health and safety?

New-brunswick’s occupational health and safety act


19 An employee may refuse to do any act where he has reasonable grounds for believing that the act is likely to endanger his health or safety or the health or safety of any other employee. 


What steps do I need to take when I have reason to believe work is likely to endanger others or myself?


  • Don’t ignore it.
  • Report your concern to the school principal promptly with specific reasons why you believe the work will endanger your health or safety. Stay at your workplace for your normal working hours.
    • The school principal must react to teachers’ concerns by conducting a thorough investigation in the presence of the teacher.
    • At this point, whether or not the employer or supervisor agrees with the employee’s refusal, under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, the employee cannot be ordered or forced to do the work and cannot be disciplined for refusing the work they consider unsafe.
  • If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, bring the matter as soon as possible to the attention of the school’s Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC), who will conduct a thorough investigation.
  • If there is no JHSC or the matter is still not resolved to your satisfaction, contact WorkSafeNB at 1-800-222-9775 to report your concerns and a health and safety officer will investigate. This would also be a good time to contact the NBTF, who can advise you and intercede on your behalf if necessary.

See the WorkSafeNB website for more details at


Source: WorkSafeNB, Your rights,

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