Employees have three basic rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
The right to know means that workers have the right to be trained, supervised, and informed about potential hazards in the workplace. As such, "the employer and the joint health and safety committee have a responsibility to communicate with workers."*
The right to participate means that workers have the right to identify any and all hazards in place where they work. Further, workers can "recommend solutions through the joint health and safety committee."*
The right to refuse work means that workers "have the right to refuse work they believe could be dangerous to their health and safety, or that of another worker."*
Subsequent to a work refusal, the supervisor must investigate the concern and, if indeed unsafe, take all necessary steps to correct the hazard. A joint health and safety committee member has the right to take part in the investigation with the supervisor.
*Basic Certification Training: Participant's Manual, Version 3.0, Worker's Health and Safety Centre, 1997, p. 2.41.