At the workplace and across the province, the BCGEU is a leader in advocating for better health and safety rules. We work with the labour community to build public support for improved health and safety conditions.
Here are the four rights:
1. Right to know about workplace hazards
The Employer Must:
- Ensure you are aware of known or foreseeable hazards
- Inform you of your rights and duties
- Provide you with information, instruction, training and supervision
- Make a copy of the WCA and OHS regulations readily available.
- Post WCB inspection reports and give the committee a copy
- Provide the committee with information on:
- Hazards in your workplace
- Experience of other workplaces; and
- WCB orders and penalties
2. Right to refuse unsafe work
- Section 3.12 of the WCB Occupational Health and Safety Regulations states that you have the right to refuse work you believe endangers your safety or those around you. You cannot be disciplined for refusing unsafe work
- Tell your supervisor or employer;
- Your supervisor must investigate and fix the hazard, or let you know that s/he doesn't agree that there is a hazard;
- If you still believe that the work is dangerous, then you can continue to refuse and the supervisor must continue the investigation in the presence of the worker (you) and a worker representative from the OH&S committee, a union designate or a co-worker selected by you;
- If the hazard is still not fixed and you consider the work unsafe, you can continue to refuse and both you and the employer must contact the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB). A WCB officer must investigate the matter without delay and issue whatever orders s/he considers necessary;
- You may be reassigned to alternate work, at no loss in pay, while you wait for the WCB officer's decision;
- Always let your local OHS representative and shop steward know that you are refusing unsafe work.
- If you are assigned to a task that has previously been refused by another worker, you employer or supervisor must inform you in writing the basis for the previous refusal, the reasons provided for each refusal, the reasons why the work would not create an undue hazard for you or any other person, and of your right to refuse unsafe work.
3. Right to participate in health and safety
You have the right:
- To participate as a worker on the health and safety committee
- To report OHS concerns to your supervisor and to your committee
- To be consulted about OHS issues such as ergonomics and workplace violence
4. Right to protection from prohibited actions
An employer or union must not threaten or take action against you for:
- Exercising a right or carrying out a duty under the WCA or OHS regulation
- Giving OHS information to the employer, workers, union or the WCB
- Timelines to file: 60 days if wages involved, 1 year otherwise