Every person that is employed in Canada has the right to a safe work environment. No matter where you work or what your occupation is, it is important to know and understand the three fundamental rights that every employee has. This knowledge will assist you in taking charge of your own health and safety at work and provide you with the confidence to perform your job safely.
3 FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF EMPLOYEES IN CANADA:
The Right to Know…about health and safety matters.
- You have the right to be informed by the employer about hazards, or potential hazards, in the workplace.
- You have the right to be given the information, training, education, supervision, and instructions necessary to protect your health and safety. Examples include:
- Written safe work policies, procedures, and practices.
- Product labels and safety data sheets.
- Results of workplace inspections.
- Health and safety boards.
- In-class or online training.
The Right to Participate…in decisions that could affect your health and safety.
You have the right to have input on what would make the workplace safer. You can do this by:
- Participating as a member of the health and safety committee (if your workplace requires one) or becoming a health and safety representative for the workplace.
- Making suggestions to the committee/representative or employer on how to make the workplace safer.
- Your employer, supervisor, or manager must act promptly on health and safety concerns identified by employees.
- Reporting incidents, illnesses, or near-misses that could cause harm to you or your co-workers.
- Providing input during workplace inspections.
- Participating in training sessions.
The Right to Refuse… work that you have reason to believe is dangerous to your health and safety, or that of others.
- This right is usually exercised when the first two rights fail to ensure your health and safety. This right is serious and should not be done as a routine method of solving workplace issues.
- You must report the refusal and the reasons for it promptly to a supervisor, manager, or employer. As much as possible, you must ensure your refusal does not endanger others.
- Work cannot resume until the hazard has been investigated, remedied, or determined that there is no hazard.
Remember, you cannot be disciplined for exercising any of these rights.
BE INFORMED. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!