What are my health and safety rights?

You have health and safety rights at work. These rights are protected by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

You have the right to know about dangerous materials or equipment used in your work. You can also say no to work that is not safe.

If your work is covered under this Act, the Ontario Ministry of Labour now requires that you get basic health and safety awareness training by your employer.

As a worker, you have the right to:

  • Know about dangerous materials or equipment used in your work. Your employer has to give you this information.
  • Say no to work that is not safe. You do not have to do that work until it is safe. You must tell your boss right away. You cannot be suspended, fired, or not get paid for saying no to work that is not safe.

You have the responsibility to:

  • Work safely. Don't take risks. You might hurt yourself or another worker.
  • Tell your boss right away about anything you see that looks unsafe.
  • Wear the right safety equipment for the job.
  • Talk to your boss first. Your boss needs to know your concerns about health and safety. That will give them a chance to fix the problem before anyone gets hurt.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) information service OSH Answers lists dangers that might be in your workplace:

  • Biological hazards (AIDS, common cold, hepatitis)
  • Chemicals and materials (compressed gases, corrosive materials, organic peroxides)
  • Diseases, disorders and injuries (farmer's lung, latex allergy, tennis elbow)
  • Ergonomics - Human factors (lifting, computer mouse, back belts)
  • Physical agents (noise, radiation, lasers)
  • Psychological issues (violence in the workplace)
  • Safety (forklifts, ladders, powered hand tools)
  • Work schedules (rotational shift work, long work day)

You can contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour's Health & Safety Contact Centre, at 1-877-202-0008, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to report a workplace health and safety incident, critical injury, fatality or work refusal. You can also call that number for general inquiries.

If You Get Hurt

What do I do if I get hurt at work?

For More Information

Last updated: October 29, 2015 4001117