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Postal Worker’s Refusal Based on Lack of a Stairway Handrail Rejected

A postal worker exercised his right to refuse unsafe work, claiming that climbing stairs without banisters to deliver mail to a specific home posed a danger. An OHS officer investigated and concluded that it wasn’t safe for the worker to deliver mail to this address. The worker appealed. The OHS Tribunal found that, in these circumstances, the lack of a handrail alone wasn’t a condition or hazard that could reasonably be expected to cause injury to a worker. A handrail installed in a stairway helps to avoid falls and there was no indication that there was a reasonable possibility that the worker could fall that day due to obstacles, snow or ice on the stairway at the address in question. In fact, the weather the day of the refusal was dry and sunny and that there were no impediments on the stairs that might have obstructed the path to the mailbox [Thibeault v. Canada Post Corp., [2015] OHSTC 21, Nov. 13, 2015].