A machine shop teacher's work refusal was not justified, an
appeals tribunal has decided, given that the teacher had the
ability to manage the class environment to ensure safety.
The teacher refused to teach the class if there were more than
16 students present, stating that a larger class size would put his
safety at risk.
The teacher argued that adolescents were prone to act in an
unpredictable manner when working with machinery, risking creating
"projectiles and other hazardous situations".
In dismissing the teacher's appeal from the decision of a
health and safety officer, the tribunal noted that the collective
agreement set the maximum class size at 29 and that the New
Brunswick Department of Education recommended a class size of 18 to
22. As such, the teacher's personal limit of 16 was not
Most importantly, the teacher had the ability to provide less
hands-on teaching and more class time, which would help manage
safety in the classroom.
The tribunal stated:
"While it is obvious that the teaching experience will
suffer, it was apparent from the appellant's testimony that
less hands-on experience and more classroom time will ensure the
safety of the students. While students may not like less hands-on
training, the issue before me concerns whether the January 8, 2016,
decision should be overturned."
As such, the teacher's appeal was dismissed. His work
refusal was not justified under the New Brunswick Occupational
Health and Safety Act.
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