Rights & responsibilities
Know your rights at work
While on the job, you have three basic rights under the Saskatchewan Employment Act:
- The right to know what hazards are present in the workplace.
It’s your first day as a server at one of your favourite restaurants. Before you start work, your employer needs to give you the right information to do your job safely.
All new workers must have a workplace training session. You learn how to safely handle the soft drink dispensers because they use compressed air cylinders. You also learn how to use and clean the deep fryers without getting hurt, and how to prevent strains, sprains and back injuries.
As a new employee, your first shift is all about learning what to do and how to do it safely.
- The right to participate in keeping your workplace healthy and safe.
You’ve been working at a grocery store for over a year. There is one set of swinging doors that act as an entrance and exit to the storage area at the back of the store.
You have seen a few incidents where workers who use these doors at the same time bump into each other and the door hits one of the workers. Luckily, no one has been badly injured, but you have some ideas about how to make these doors safer. The first would be to add windows so workers can see oncoming traffic. The second would be putting up signs that say workers must enter through one door and exit through the other.
You brought these ideas to both your supervisor and the occupational health committee (OHC). Everyone agreed that these doors were an issue and your suggestions were approved. The changes were made to make the doors safer for everyone.
You have a right to bring up ongoing issues or safety ideas to both your manager and/or your OHC. The right to participate is about improving the safety of your workplace for everyone.
- The right to refuse work that you believe to be unusually dangerous to yourself and your co-workers.
You have been working at a personal care home for three years. You spend most of your time helping patients but spend a few extra hours a week cleaning and helping with small maintenance tasks.
There’s a large sign outside that’s usually lit up, but it’s not working. You’ve been asked to fix it. Although you aren’t comfortable doing this, you agree to give it a try. That is until you see the ladder is broken and remember you have no electrical training.
You decide to talk to your supervisor and let them know you aren’t comfortable doing this task – the ladder is broken and you aren’t trained to work with electricity. The supervisor understands your concerns and decides to call a company to come and fix the light.
Unfortunately, too often workers decide not to speak up when they are uncomfortable with a task and injuries or fatalities occur.
It is important to speak up!
Know your responsibilities
If you are a young worker aged 14 or 15, you must successfully complete the online Young Worker Readiness Certificate course and provide a copy of your certificate to your employer.
Whatever your age, your responsibilities while on the job include:
- The responsibility to work safely by using all machinery and equipment in the way you were trained.
- The responsibility to report health and safety concerns, including unsafe activities and conditions, to your supervisor and ask questions if you are unsure how to do something safely.
- The responsibility to properly use or wear protective devices and to not remove a guard or device designed to protect you.
- The responsibility to protect yourself and others from harm as much as possible and to not harass others at work.
Remember to always wear your safety gear. It’s the law!