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Health & Safety

Workplace dangers (Right to know about work place dangers)

High stress from fast paced work and the need to work efficiently - Food and beverage servers

Back injury from repetitive packing and shipping - Shippers and receivers

Breathing irritation or skin irritation from working with fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides - Lawn care workers

The right to know about workplace hazards is a right shared in Canada by most workers. Hazards in the workplace sometimes play a part in the stress, accidents, injuries, disease, and even death countless workers suffer. Workers compensation boards in Canada receive on average a million work related injury reports each year. On average, in Canada, there are 800 work related deaths each year - that's around two deaths each day.

By knowing about workplace hazards, workers can make sure employers make work safer, provide protection to workers, and give training so that workers can work with the smallest possibility of injury or illness.

Workplace law on the right to know and the right to training varies across Canada. In every province, territory, and in federal law, WHMIS legislation states that employers have to tell workers about certain hazardous chemicals. WHMIS legislation also describes the health and safety training employers have to give workers on using these hazardous materials. But laws in Canada differ on whether employers have to tell workers about other specific workplace hazards, like hazards often found in offices, the hazard of violence, or the hazards of working alone. Laws also differ on whether employers have to train workers on ways that make work safer and healthier. To learn more about workers' right to know and to training, click on the provincial, territorial or federal tab for the law that applies to your workplace. If you're unsure whether your workplace falls under federal law, read: Which law covers you.

Unionized workers' collective agreements often have clauses that develop the right to know and the right to training found in workplace laws. A collective agreement might name a hazard that workers are concerned about, and state that the hazard's effect on the workers has to be researched and the workers told the research results. Or a collective agreement might detail the number of hours of training that's needed to allow workers to work safely when the law doesn't specify the number of hours the training should take.

Workers can make certain safety in the workplace is a priority by using workers' rights. Learn about workers' right to refuse unsafe work, and the right to participate in workplace health and safety decision making as workers on health and safety committees or as worker health and safety representatives.

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