Rules and Regulations

Safety Rights and Responsibilities

All workers in British Columbia have four basic health and safety rights.

The Right to Know

Workers have the right to know about any potential hazards in the workplace. Workers also have a right to training and information on machinery, equipment, working conditions, processes and hazardous substances.

Examples 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

Workers can ask the employer to provide information on:

  • Hazards in the 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 can 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 that 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 Workers Compensation Act (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 No Discrimination

Workers cannot be fired or disciplined for participating in health and safety activities.

Discrimination defined:

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

Employee Responsibilities

A worker's safety responsibilities when working include:

  • The responsibility to ensure that safety is in place for the worker and others who may be affected by his or her actions.
  • The requirement to refuse work that a worker believes may harm the worker or someone else.

Please note: a worker can be held liable if he or she does not work safely.

Health and Safety Resources

Check the resources page to link to more information on health and safety.