As a new employee, you may have a lot of questions about what your rights and responsibilities are at your job. Learning the basics of OH & S legislation can benefit you in many ways; this knowledge will help to keep you safe at work, and help keep your coworkers safe as well. These laws are extremely important as they lay out the framework for each employee’s safety and the safe procedures for a workplace.
You have three rights as a worker:
The right to REFUSE unsafe work. If you are asked to do a task that you feel is dangerous, or that you do not know how to do, you can say that you will not complete the task and not be punished for it.
The right to KNOW about hazards and health and safety information. Any hazards that are imminent and any information about anything that can affect your wellbeing must be fully accessible.
The right to PARTICIPATE in health and safety discussions and committees. Just because you are young or new on the jobsite doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of groups that create and distribute information that is important for you and your coworkers’ health.
Along with rights, you also have responsibilities as a worker. These are not the same as your day-to-day activities that you have been tasked with at work. This means the responsibility is on you to act in a certain manner.
The government of Alberta website reads, as a worker you need to:
- refuse dangerous work
- report unsafe work practices
- follow health and safety procedures
- refrain from harassment or violence in the workplace
- ask for training if you don’t know how to do something
- work safely and encourage others to as well
- use required safety equipment and clothing
- inform your supervisor if you have anything going on that could affect your ability to work safe.
These are responsibilities that every person on the worksite have, and that help to keep everyone safe. Your employer is responsible for educating you about safety training that pertains to your worksite and tasks and keeps you safe from hazards. But ultimately, basic safety education is your responsibility, and can be attained through courses like HCS 3000.
The following is a list of employer responsibilities from the government of Alberta website:
Employers are required to:
- ensure workers have the skills and training needed to do their jobs in a healthy and safe manner
- provide competent supervisors
- prevent violence and harassment in the workplace
- inform workers of all the health and safety hazards at the job site
- set up safe work practices and ensure these practices are followed
- provide safety equipment and training
- properly label and store dangerous chemicals
- investigate serious injuries and incidents
- investigate potentially serious incidents (PSI)
- work with the health and safety committee or representative
- meet OHS and Employment Standards Code requirements
Your supervisors and employers must follow these regulations on the job site, and provide a safe environment for you to do your job.
For more information on your employee rights and responsibilities, sign up for our free workplace safety courses here.