Communicating safety concerns

It is important to communicate safety concerns in the workplace to a supervisor. Workers must follow workplace safety procedures and report hazards. Employees and employers need to work together to improve occupational health and safety in the workplace. The three rights of workers mentioned in the occupational health and safety legislation in Canada are:

The right to know – this means a worker has the right to be informed about potential hazards in the workplace. The employer has to ensure that the workers are trained and offered continuous supervision to protect their health and safety.

The right to participate – this means that workers can take part in discussions around health and safety includes communicating any concerns they may have.

The right to refuse – this means that workers can refuse for themselves or co-workers, unsafe or dangerous work as long as they have “reasonable cause”. 

Safety hazards on a job site or within the workplace should be reported to a supervisor or an Occupational Health and Safety Offer. Job sites and workplaces can provide hazard forms, which could encourage individuals to proactively report potential hazards. Some of which include, but are not limited to: 

  • Operating equipment without training.
  • Failing to use or maintain personal protective equipment.
  • Improperly using personal protective equipment.
  • Using defective tools or equipment.
  • Improper lifting.
  • Slipping/tripping hazards – poorly maintained floors or stairs.
  • Tripping hazard – poorly electrical cable management.
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Employers are responsible for creating space for employees to participate in discussions about occupational health and safety. 

  1. Safety suggestion box – This is an anonymous way of communicating safety concerns in the workplace. Safety hazards must be communicated immediately to the supervisor.  
  2. Incorporate best practices into daily tasks – This helps to make health and safety a priority within the workplace. 

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. All hazards should be logged, addressed, and eliminated. Employees and employers must work together to ensure that our job sites and workplaces are safe, healthy, and hazard free. 

By Gabriela Mancas, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant

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