Rights and Responsibilities

All workers in British Columbia have four basic Health & Safety Rights


_MG_7144_adjustThe Right to Know

Workers have the Right to Know about any potential hazards in the workplace. You have a right to training and information on machinery, equipment, working conditions, processes and hazardous substances.
Example of a worker’s Right to Know:

  • The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • Violence in the Workplace (Past experience or occurrences)
  • Ergonomics (Known Hazards)
  • Asbestos (Known Locations)
  • Employer must post WCB inspection reports

You can ask the employer to provide information on:

  • Hazards in your workplace
  • Experience of other workplaces
  • WCB orders and penalties

The Right to Participate

Workers have the Right to Participate in the process of identifying and resolving workplace health and safety concerns. They participate through worker membership on Joint Health and Safety Committees and reporting concerns to their supervisor or employer. Workers also have the Right to Participate in workplace inspections and investigations.

The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

Workers have the Right to Refuse work they believe is dangerous to their own health and safety or to another worker. The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work is one of the few exceptions to the “work now, grieve later” rule in labour relations.


Section 3.12 of the OH&S Regulations (Canada Labour Code Part II - Section 128 & 129)

includes the process for refusing work and employer responsibilities for responding to refusals. Legislation also provides workers with protection from reprisal from the employer.

The Right to Worker Protection in Relation to Prohibited Action

You cannot be fired or disciplined for participating in Health and Safety activities.

Prohibited Action Defined:

  • Suspension, lay-off, or dismissal
  • Demotion or loss of opportunity for promotion
  • Transfer of duties, reduction in wages
  • Coercion or intimidation
  • Discipline, reprimand


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