Health care is dangerous work. From biological and chemical hazards to musculoskeletal disorders and workplace violence, health-care professionals face many serious workplace hazards every day.
In Ontario, the health-care sector has some of the highest rates of workplace injuries and illnesses – even greater than construction, mining and manufacturing. Yet, health-care employers lag far behind their industrial counterparts in addressing occupational health and safety issues.
If workers are not protected from health and safety hazards, patients and the public are not protected either.
ONA’s Labour Relations Officers and Health and Safety Specialists work with Bargaining Units to help you develop strong committees that drive strong internal responsibility systems needed for positive changes for worker health and safety. We are here to help you deal with workplace safety issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I see a hazard in my workplace?
You need to report it immediately to your manager. It’s the law. It’s a good idea to report it in writing so that you have proof that you complied with the law. It is your managers’ and employers’ legal responsibility to act on it.
I reported the hazard but it is still there after quite a while. Now what?
If the issue is not resolved quickly, tell a member of your Joint Health and Safety Committee and your Bargaining Unit President. If hazards are not resolved, it can be escalated to senior management and/or the Ministry of Labour. It’s important to raise concerns as high and as quickly as necessary to protect workers.
What is a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC)?
A JHSC is a committee that is made up of worker members selected by the unions and workers they represent, and management-selected members to represent the employer. Together they aim to improve health and safety conditions in a workplace.
How can I become involved in health and safety issues in my workplace?
As a first step, you should speak with your Bargaining Unit President about how you can become involved. They may suggest many things like becoming a health and safety rep or sitting on the JHSC. Good luck!