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Health & Safety Rights

Workers have a role to play in helping ensure safe and healthy workplaces. Knowing your rights in the workplace is an important part of this.

Knowing Your Rights

Workers have many rights when it comes to health and safety in the workplace. It is difficult to make use of these rights if you do not know about them. Knowing your rights helps keep everyone safe in the workplace.

Right to Know About Hazards

A hazard is any harmful activity, situation or substance. Employers must tell workers about hazards and how to protect themselves and others. Workers have the right to ask about potential hazards.

Right to Participate in Safety Efforts

Workers can help to identify and correct hazards. They can do this as individual workers or through Occupational Health Committees. Workplaces must have a committee if there are 10 or more workers. In high hazard workplaces with fewer than 10 workers, a health and safety representative must be designated. Committees and representatives work with the employer to resolve any safety concerns.

Right to Refuse Unusually Dangerous Work

A worker has the right to refuse to do any task which they reasonably believe is unusually dangerous to themselves or others. An unusual danger includes a danger that:

  • is not normal for the job
  • would normally stop work
  • the worker is not trained, equipped or experienced enough to handle safely

If you refuse work because of an unusual danger, you need to tell your employer what you are refusing to do and why. Do not leave work without your employer’s permission. They may re-assign you to a different job. If the situation cannot be resolved, contact the Occupational Health & Safety Division.

Right to a Harassment-Free Workplace

Employers must ensure that workers are not exposed to harassment which threatens their health and safety. This includes creating a written policy to prevent harassment and investigating incidents. Harassment includes inappropriate conduct or comments based on:

  • race or colour
  • religion or creed
  • sex or sexual orientation
  • marital or family status
  • disability
  • physical size or weight
  • age
  • nationality, ancestry or place of origin

Harassment also includes sexual harassment such as unwelcome invitations to engage in sexual behaviour or displaying sexually explicit material.

Personal harassment, also called bullying, is also prohibited. Personal harassment means conduct or comments that impact a worker’s physical or mental well-being. It must also be shown that the harasser knew or should have known that the conduct would cause the worker to be humiliated or intimidated.

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PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.