Workers' Rights & Responsibilities

Workers' Rights & Responsibilities

Every worker has the right to a safe workplace, but they also have responsibilities to keep their own workplaces safe.

Worker Rights:

1. The right to know about hazards in your workplace and how to deal with them.

  • What hazards exist on the worksite? What are the safety procedures that reduce risk of injury? Where are the emergency supplies? What are the emergency procedures?
  • You have the right to know the answers to these questions BEFORE you start working.
  • You have a right to know how to do your work safely and properly.
  • Your supervisor must make sure you know all the hazards on a worksite, and how to deal with them.
  • You have the right and the responsibility to receive proper training to manage any risks of getting hurt. 

2. The right to participate in making your workplace safe.

  • See something unsafe at your workplace? Have suggestions on how to make your workplace safer? Concerned about your health and safety, or a coworker’s? Tell your supervisor. You have the right to participate in ensuring your workplace is safe.
  • At a smaller workplace, you can become the Safety Representative. At a larger workplace, you can join the OHS Committee as a worker representative. 

3. The right to refuse unsafe work.

  • Don’t do any work if you are not sure how to do it safely and properly.
  • If your work situation puts you or others in unusual danger*, you have the right to refuse that work. Tell your supervisor.


Steps to Refuse Unsafe Work
  • Step 1

    Stop work and report immediately to your supervisor

  • Step 2

    Investigation begins immediately with you, your supervisor, and another worker.

  • Step 3

    You have the right to have a union representative, OHS member, or a co-worker of your choosing, present with you during the investigation.

  • Step 4

    You have the right to watch the investigation from a safe place.

  • Step 5

    Your supervisor notifies you of the investigation results and the steps taken to correct the danger.

  • Step 6

    You return to work.

  • Step 7

    If you believe the unusual danger still exists, notify the WSCC to investigate further.

Worker Responsibilities:

Training and Education

Your employer has to ensure you know how to safely perform any task in your job, and must provide you proper training. They must explain your job duties and show you how to do them.
You should be able to explain and show how to do your duties to your supervisor.

When you are not sure, ask for training

It is important that every worker understands their duties. Your employer may not know that you need more training. If you feel you or someone you work with needs more training to do a job safely, tell your supervisor. Don’t perform any task until you receive proper training.

Follow procedures

Learn and apply safety rules and procedures. You are responsible for following all the steps of safety procedures in your job. This includes checking to make sure personal protective equipment (PPE) works properly; knowing how to use it; and making sure you use it.
Don’t leave your work site area unless your employer tells you. Other work areas may have hazards you don’t know about, such as power lines, slippery floors or toxic chemicals.

Report incidents, unsafe conditions and unsafe work practices

If you see or have an incident, if work conditions become unsafe, or if you see unsafe work practices, report them to your supervisor immediately.

Know your work site Emergency Response Plan

Employers must make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency; whether it is a fire alarm, power failure, or other situation. Employers must provide an emergency response plan that you must have easy access to and be familiar with.