The first stand downs in the bitter, long-running dispute over public sector wages could begin with nurses at Latrobe's Mersey Community Hospital.
The health union is expecting nurses will be stood down from 8am on Thursday for imposing bans on non-urgent elective surgery.
In Parliament on Wednesday, Premier Will Hodgman backed Health Minister Michael Ferguson's decision last week that "where duties aren't performed, industrial measures including pay reductions and stand downs will be pursued".
Health and Community Services Union assistant secretary Robbie Moore said nurses at the Mersey had been told that managers would be at the hospital on Thursday morning to stand them down if they refused to lift their bans.
"We have had no official notification but the workers have been told there will be stand downs," Mr Moore said. "If that happens it will be unprecedented in health and a sign that the government is being belligerent, militant and anti-worker.
"This is going to lead to Armageddon. It will escalate the dispute into unknown territory because the workers will not back down."
Mr Moore said if the stand down of nurses, who are members of HACSU occurred, it was likely further stop work meetings would be held.
"We will consider our legal options," he said.
Labor leader Rebecca White asked Mr Hodgman whether "the decision to threaten nurses and other health staff with docking their pay and standing them down a decision made by your Cabinet?
"Did you authorise the Health Minister, Mr Ferguson to make this threat and do you agree with it?," Ms White asked.
Mr Hodgman said he supported Health Department advice on industrial matters.
"I certainly back the Health Minister, I back our principal objective," he said.
"Yours is to play politics. Ours is patient safety and we will always put that first."
Mr Ferguson said he hoped there would not be any stand-downs.
"I'm confident it won't get to that point because I can't believe that the unions would press ahead and prevent patients from getting the surgery they should get," he said.
Late on Wednesday, a government spokeswoman said "HACSU's recent comment suggests that it is intending to deliberately cause clinically prioritised surgeries to be cancelled".
"There are patients booked in for surgery at (the) Mersey tomorrow, and it would be unfair if they don't get the health care they need because of the union bosses," she said.
"The Department of Health is taking advice on this matter."
The public sector pay dispute has been dragging on since May last year.