The simple answer is yes; you do not owe your life to your company. If you believe that you are working in dangerous conditions, you can refuse to perform the work. Regardless of the industry, work should be as safely possible. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), employers are required to take steps to protect their workers from dangerous conditions. This post will go over those rights and how they affect you.
Every year, over 5,000 people die from workplace accidents and 50,000 dies from illnesses that were incurred at the workplace. The OSH Act, while requiring employers to make workplaces safe, it is not a blanket protection for workers. Workers cannot refuse to work for potential dangerous issues; they may only to refuse if they have good faith reason to believe that their job will place them in imminent danger of serious harm.
So what happens if there is a dangerous condition, can you refuse to work and that is it? Not entirely, you should notify your employer and ask them to correct the hazard. You should also ask for alternative work duty until the danger is fixed. You should also file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to spur an investigation.
If you were injured in an accident on the job due to an unsafe working condition, then you should contact a lawyer at your earliest convenience. You have rights as an employee, including the right to a safe workplace. An attorney can help you get compensation for your injuries so that you can focus on healing and your family.