What are my rights as a worker?

Under occupational health and safety legislation you have 3 rights:

  • The right to know the hazards at work and how to control them
  • The right to find and control workplace hazards
  • The right to refuse work, which you believe is unusually dangerous

Right to know

You have the right to get information about hazards in the workplace. Hazards are anything that has the potential to cause an injury or illness. If your employer doesn’t tell you, ask. Find out where the potential hazards are at your workplace.

If you work in a restaurant, for example, your employer must explain the safe way to do your job including how to:

  • Handle the compressed gas cylinders used with soft drink dispensers
  • Use and clean deep fryers
  • Prevent repetitive strain and back injuries

Right to participate

You can become involved in health and safety at work. Every Saskatchewan workplace with 10 or more workers must have a worker/management occupational health committee. High hazard workplaces with 5 – 9 workers must have an occupational health and safety representative.

Occupational Health and Safety gives training courses to help committee members. A committee is to:

  • Conduct regular inspections of the workplace
  • Assist workers to ensure their health and safety concerns are appropriately handled
  • Advise and assist employers with OHS-related policies, procedures and issues
  • Investigate when someone refuses to perform a job or task that they believe is unusually dangerous

If your supervisor is unable to help with your safety concerns, discuss them with your occupational heath committee or your occupational health and safety representative, if one is present. If there is no safety committee or representative, call Occupational Health and Safety at toll free 1-800-567-7233.

What are my responsibilities?

As a worker you have rights, but you also have responsibilities to work and act safely on the job. Under the legislation you are expected to:

  • Cooperate with your employer, supervisor, occupational health committee, or occupational health and safety representative
  • Know and follow company health and safety policies, practices and procedures
  • Use safety equipment properly and as required by the employer
  • Report accidents, occupational illnesses, and near misses
  • Report health and safety hazards and concerns
  • Refrain from causing, encouraging or participating in harassment
  • Conduct yourself in a safe and responsible manner

Many jobs will require you to use personal protective equipment like hard hats. If you are working at heights exceeding 3 metres, the employer must provide a fall protection system. If head, respiratory, eye, hearing and/or face protection is required, your employer is required to provide it. However, your employer is not required to provide safety boots. Whatever the situation, make sure you use all safety equipment required for the work.

What are my employer’s responsibilities?

An employer has many responsibilities under the legislation. Your employer must:

  • Ensure a copy of The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 and The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 is available for your reference. The legislation is available for your reference online.
  • Provide a healthy and safe work environment
  • Put first aid and emergency arrangements in place
  • Promptly report incidents to Occupational Health and Safety
  • Know and follow the appropriate legislation for the industry

Your employer must train you in all matters that are necessary to protect your health and safety before you start work, are assigned different duties or are moved to a new worksite. Also, your employer must pay you while you are being trained. The training must include:

  • Safety policies, safe work procedures and precautions to protect you against hazards
  • First aid locations and procedures in the event of fire and other emergencies
  • Identification of prohibited or restricted areas
  • Hazard reporting procedures
  • Your responsibilities

Your employer must provide close and competent supervision until you have been trained to do your job and have enough experience to perform your work safely. If you are uncertain, ask for the training you need to protect your health and safety.

What happens if I am injured at work?

If you are injured, the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) can help. The WCB provides rehabilitation, retraining, and financial help to workers injured or made ill by work. If you are injured at work:

  • Get medical aid as soon as possible – even if the injury does not appear serious
  • Report the incident to your employer
  • Fill out a Worker’s Report of Injury form and send it to the WCB. Phone the WCB if you need help completing the form at (306) 787-4370 or toll free 1-800-667-7590

Where can I go for help?

Occupational Health and Safety at the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety provides services to the people of Saskatchewan, which include:

  • A safety video library and safety training courses
  • Assistance and advice to employees, occupational health committees and employers
  • Workplace inspections, investigations and audits

Note: There are age restrictions for hiring young workers who are 18 years of age and younger. See part III Section 14 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 for additional information.