Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
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Health and Safety: Teaching Tools

Your Rights and Responsibilities
at Work

When you are at work, you have certain rights and responsibilities. These rights and responsibilities are in place to help keep you and your co-workers safe.

Employee's Three Basic Rights:

  • The "right to refuse" means that a worker can refuse work that they believe will be dangerous to themselves or their coworkers. (Specific steps must be followed when a refusal is initiated.) The employees also have the right to report unsafe practices and conditions in the workplace (without fear of being fired, etc).
  • The "right to know" about any hazards that exist in the workplace and how these hazards may effect them. Training programs are one way employees learn about the hazards at work. Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and chemical safety training are also part of this "right to know" philosophy.
  • The "right to participate" is often achieved by establishing a health and safety committee. If such a committee does not exist in the workplace, a system for allowing for employee input is necessary.

Employee Responsibilities

Employees must:

WORK in compliance with the laws
USE any personal protective equipment (PPE) and to use any safety equipment as directed by the employer
REPORT workplace hazards
WORK in a way that does not cause an unsafe situation