What to do if you have a health and safety problem

1.  Tell your supervisor. In all Canadian jurisdictions, including the Federal jurisdiction, the respective occupational health and safety acts state that it is the primary duty of the employer to provide workers with a safe workplace. Your supervisor is the first link in a chain that goes to the top, so they need to be told about the hazards and dangers you discover in the workplace.

An important note: No job is worth dying over.  You have the Right to Know, the Right to Participate and the Right to Refuse Dangerous Work.

  • In all jurisdictions, workers have the legal right to refuse to perform a task that they feel will cause harm to themselves or others.
  • If you feel the task is too dangerous, tell your supervisor that “you are refusing to do the task because you feel it is too dangerous.” This will set into motion a series of steps that will lead to the hazard being removed, or an investigation with your local health and safety representative or a committee member.
  • For more information on the right to refuse unsafe work, check out Your Health and Safety Rights at Work card.

2.  Joint Health and Safety Committee -  Make sure your joint health and safety committee knows about the hazard or problem you are facing.  Absolutely all hazards should be reported to members of your Joint Health and Safety committee or health and safety representative, but if your supervisor has not taken action to fix the hazard – this is the most important step.   A well-functioning committee will address problems brought to its agenda, as well as conduct regular health and safety inspections to make sure that working conditions are safe. Check out our Committee Resources page.

3.  Ensure your Co-Workers and local Union Executive are Aware of the Hazard.  Make sure your union health and safety committee, your co-workers and your local executive know about the hazard. It is the law that your employer must tell all employees about the hazards of the workplace, however many employers do not.  To help protect each other, please tell co-workers, especially those who will be potentially exposed to the hazard.

4.   Contact a PSAC Staff Person.  All PSAC Components, locals and Directly Chartered locals have access to a regional and national health and safety representative. If you have a health and safety issue that you cannot get rectified, contact the staff representative assigned to your region.

British Columbia Region                 1.800.953.1050

Prairie Region                                   1.866.393.7722

Ontario Region                                 1.800.354.9086

National Capital Region                   819.777.4647

Quebec Region                                 1.800.566.6530

Atlantic Region                                 1.800.839.6661

North Region                                     1800.661.0870


January 10, 2018