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.
A hazard is any activity, situation or substance that could harm a worker. Employers must tell workers about hazards and how to protect themselves. Workers have the right to ask about potential hazards.
Workers can help to identify and correct hazards. They can do this as individual workers or through Occupational Health Committees if there are 10 or more workers in the workplace. In some smaller but high hazard workplaces a worker health and safety representative must be designated. The representative, like the committee, works with the employer to resolve any health and safety concerns.
A worker has the right to refuse to do any specific job or task which they have reasonable grounds to believe is unusually dangerous to themselves or to other workers. An unusual danger includes a danger that is not normal for the job, one that would normally stop work or one that the worker isn’t trained, equipped or experienced enough to handle safely.
If you need to 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. You may be re-assigned to a different job. If the situation cannot be resolved contact the Occupational Health & Safety Division.
Harassment based on race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry or place of origin that threatens the health or safety of a worker is prohibited. This includes sexual harassment such as unwelcome invitations to engage in sexual behaviour or displaying sexually explicit material.
Personal harassment is also prohibited. Personal harassment, sometimes called bullying, includes comments or displays that impact a worker’s physical or psychological well-being and threaten the health and safety of the worker. 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.