Every employee has the right to work in a safe environment. WCB requires employers to protect the health and safety of their workers and the occupational environment. That includes air quality, lighting, exposure to infectious or toxic areas, and other hazards.
Under these regulations, all workers have four basic health and safety rights:
1. The Right to Know about hazards in the workplace.
2. The Right to Participate in occupational health and safety (OHS) activities through the Joint Health & Safety Committee.
3. The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work. If you are being directed to do something that you believe could hurt you or someone else, you have the duty and right to refuse unsafe work.
4. The Right to No Discrimination for using any of your health and safety rights or contacting the Workers’ Compensation Board of BC (WCB) or your union. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 3.12 you must refuse unsafe, or unhealthy work. Regulation 3.13 says that you cannot be fired or disciplined for refusing unsafe work.
If you are injured at work or have symptoms of a work-related illness, follow these steps and options.
Step 1: Report it to first aid attendant or supervisor, then fill out an accident or incident report. Make sure it’s copied to your union OHS Committee representative.
Step 2: Seek medical attention and tell your doctor your injury is work-related. Your employer is responsible for your transportation costs from your workplace to a doctor's office or hospital on the day of duty only.
Step 3: Start a claim by reporting it to the WCB as soon as possible. If you seek medical attention as a result of your injury, start your claim by calling WCB Teleclaim, 1 888-WORKERS, (1-888 967-5377) or Workers’ Advisers Office at 1-800-668-2117. You can also download and submit an Application for Compensation at worksafebc.com
Don’t let anyone, including a supervisor or person in authority, tell you not to report an incident, no matter how small it may seem.
Harassment and Bullying at Work
Your employer is obligated to provide a workplace that is safe, free of harassment and that provides an environment in which diversity is respected. Check your collective agreement for harassment language.
If you experience bullying, harassment, or discrimination based on the prohibited grounds under BC’s Human Rights Code, you should contact your steward for assistance. You can also check out the WorkSafeBC website for tools and resources for dealing with bullying and harassment and workplace violence.