Employees Right to Knowledge.docx

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12 Apr 2012
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Right to Knowledge 4/12/2012 12:56:00 PM
The Right to a Healthy and Safe Work Environment
Workers are entitled to expect that they will remain:
o Safe from immediate injury
o Healthy from disease as a result of long-term exposure to
hazards in the workplace
Employers are sometimes able to free themselves from the
responsibility for workplace injuries saying that either they did not
directly cause the employee’s injury, or that the employee chose to
accept the risk of injury by choosing to perform the work
o Frequently employees are not informed of certain risks
Right to Refuse Hazardous Work
Workers could be in danger of suffering injury before a proper
investigation of the suspected danger, so they need to be able to
refuse to work until the hazards can be assessed
For workers to refuse work the law requires they must have:
o A reasonable belief there is danger and be able to show it
o The danger can only be avoided by refusing the work
Right to Know of Workplace Hazards
The right to know can help protect a workers autonomy
Can be justified on utilitarian grounds:
o Workers that are aware of hazards will be better equipped to
protect themselves
o If risk determines wages, the only means of assessing risk is
with full information
Could be achieved more easily through government regulation