Workplace injuries can result in a lifelong burden for the workers, their families and the health care system. Almost every worker, supervisor, employer and workplace in Ontario is covered by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.S.O 1990) and regulations. Also included are workplace owners, constructors and suppliers of equipment or materials to workplaces covered by the act.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sets out the rights and duties of all parties in the workplace. Its main purpose is to protect workers against health and safety hazards on the job. The Act establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards, and it provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily.
But the OHSA cannot protect workers alone. Individuals must also take responsibility for their own safety in the workplace so that at the end of each shift they can return home to families and loved ones safe and healthy.
How can my job affect my health?
People often ask this question but it is a hard one to answer. A certain job can have many health hazards or just a few. Every workplace environment is unique. What makes a job dangerous can come from a large range of factors, including, but not limited to chemicals, materials, noise.
In general, how severely your health is affected by a risk factor depends on how much you are exposed and how long you are exposed. For some factors it may be possible to measure the level of risk. In these cases employers can carry out a job hazard analysis to find out how much risk workers may be exposed to as they do various tasks.
If workers are exposed to any hazard, this should be controlled as safely as possible. If you notice health problems resulting from your work, contact your family doctor, Employee Assistance Program, union representative, occupational health and safety committee representative or your manager.
There are laws to help keep your workplace safe. Find out which laws apply in your area by contacting your local government office responsible for occupational health and safety.