Health & Workplace Safety
Occupational health and safety issues between employees and their employers can become highly contentious unless both parties understand their rights and obligations.
Legal assistance from an experienced occupational health and safety lawyer can help to prevent such issues from escalating into adversarial situations.
Our lawyers understand workplace health and safety regulations. We have helped both employees and employers protect and assert their rights and fulfill their responsibilities,
Whether you have a health and safety or workplace compliance issue, speak to the lawyers at Taylor Janis LLP for legal advice.
Learn More → Can My Employer Fire Me for Raising a Safety Issue at Work in BC?
What is the law that governs workplace safety in BC?
The Workers Compensation Act is a key piece of legislation governing occupational health and safety matters in British Columbia.
Additionally, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation was developed by WorkSafeBC to ensure worker safety and prevent accidents and injuries at work.
Regardless of the business size or type, every employer in B.C. has the responsibility to keep workers safe in the workplace by following the requirements set out by the provincial government and the Regulation.
The laws lay out the general responsibilities of employers, workers and supervisors and form the foundation for workplace health and safety responsibilities in the province.
Some businesses and industries that must deal with specific hazards, such as construction, oil and gas, forestry and agriculture receive special attention in the legislation.
What are the three basic health and safety rights of workers in BC?
In British Columbia, all workers have the following three rights:
- The right to know about health and safety matters.
- The right to participate in decisions that could affect their health and safety.
- The right to refuse work that could affect their health and safety and that of others.
What are signs that your workplace may be unsafe?
Employees should be able to trust their employers to provide a safe workplace but that’s not always the case and it’s important to remain vigilant.
In particular, the following should raise red flags:
- Other workers have been injured on the job
- A lack of proper occupational health and safety training
- A lack of direct supervision that compromises safety
- Unlabeled containers of hazardous materials
- Unguarded, broken or faulty machinery
- Regular slippery floors or a dirty workplace
- Poor electrical wiring that is not fixed after being reported
- Cost-cutting measures that compromise safety
What to do if your workplace is unsafe
Take the following steps if, as an employee, you observe that your workplace is unsafe:
- Stop work and report the unsafe condition/procedure
After you stop work, be sure to report the unsafe condition to your employer or supervisor. This will obligate the employer to investigate and fix the matter.
Note: if your employer feels that the work can be done safely by another person, that person must receive notice in writing detailing the reported unsafe condition, reasons why the task would not create an undue hazard and the worker’s right to refuse the work.
- Escalate the issue
If the matter remains unresolved after you’ve reported it, you and your employer (or supervisor) must investigate the matter in the presence of either a worker representative of the joint health and safety committee, a worker chosen by your trade union or any other worker you select.
- Notify WorkSafeBC or a suitable employment lawyer
If the matter remains unresolved, both you and the supervisor/employer must contact WorkSafeBC and a prevention officer will investigate the matter.
At that stage, you may also wish to contact a Taylor Janis LLP employment lawyer.
We can advise you of your legal rights and options concerning occupational health and safety matters in B.C., during a confidential 30-minute telephone or video consultation.
Book A Consultation
At Taylor Janis LLP, we have the skills, knowledge, and expertise to handle all of your employment & labour law needs.
To arrange a one-on-one consultation and document review with one of our employment & labour lawyers, please contact us today at (778) 600-1599 toll-free at 1-877-402-1002.
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