Know Your Rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act

In Ontario, workplaces are governed by the Occupational Health & Safety Act. Health and safety in Ontario is anchored on the principle of each of us doing our part to keep the workplace free of accidents and illness. This means that we all have certain rights:

• The right to know about the hazards we may or do encounter and are given the knowledge about how to work with them safely

• The right to refuse work we believe is unsafe and could cause harm to ourselves or others and

• The right to participate in workplace health and safety activities, like the joint Health and Safety Committee

Along with those rights, come some responsibilities. These include:

Working safely – don’t take risks; you might injure yourself or another worker

Report unsafe conditions – if you see anything that looks unsafe, tell your supervisor or employer right away; don’t wait until someone gets hurt

Wear the right safety equipment for the job – wear your protective gear and equipment; get trained on how to use it properly

Ask your employer first – your employer needs to know your concerns and questions about health and safety issues, and to take the necessary measures to avoid injuries

What to do if You’re Injured at Work

• If you require first aid, seek help immediately

• Tell your employer or supervisor about your injury

Employers Must:

• Arrange and pay for transportation so that the worker can get medical care if required

• Report the injury to the WSIB within three days if it involves healthcare treatment, time away from work or lost wages

• Pay an injured worker wages for the day of the injury

Working Conditions May Not Be Altered

Below is an excerpt from Section 86 of the Labour Relations Act. No matter what anyone says, the employer may not change working conditions (including pay, benefits, etc.) without the consent of the union.

86. (1) Where notice has been given under section 16 or section 59 and no Collective Agreement is in operation, no employer shall, except with the consent of the trade union, alter the rates of wages or any other term or condition of employment or any right, privilege or duty, of the employer, the trade union or the employees, and no trade union shall, except with the consent of the employer, alter any term or condition of employment or any right, privilege or duty of the employer, the trade union or the employees.

Read the full section HERE.