Bulletin 184: Resolving Safety and Health Concerns

Bulletin 184: Resolving Safety and Health Concerns

Worker's rol​​e

Incidents often occur in the workplace because hazards were either not reported or were not resolved. In order to prevent such incidents, workers should always report any safety and health concerns they have by following the three-step process outlined below:

Step 1

The first step in having a concern identified and dealt with is to raise it with your supervisor or person in charge at the workplace. That person must then attempt to resolve the matter.

Step 2

If you are uncomfortable raising the concern or are unable to resolve the concern at this level, talk to a member of your workplace safety and health committee or your worker representative. The committee member/representative will attempt to resolve the concern by reviewing the issue and bringing any recommendations to the employer. 

**If your workplace has fewer than five workers, there may not be a designated worker representative. If there is no representative, move to Step 3.

Step 3

If the concern cannot be remedied at the committee/representative level, or if you feel the issue is urgent and not receiving appropriate attention, you may notify the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Branch (WSH) at 204-957-SAFE or 1-855-957-SAFE (Option 1) and explain the issue.  WSH will intervene as appropriate.

Workers have the right to refuse work that they reasonably believe is a danger or that is an imminent risk to their safety and health or the safety and health of others.

Workers who raise workplace safety and health concerns are protected by law from reprisal, including job termination and loss of wages.

Employer​'s role

An employer's attitude towards safety and health drives the safety and health culture in an organization. Employers, including management and supervisors, should encourage staff to bring safety and health concerns forward and recommend solutions to control the hazards. 

Once a hazard has been identified, it is the responsibility of an employer to eliminate or control the hazard in order to ensure the safety and health of workers. In situations where a recommendation has been made by a safety and health committee, committee co-chair or a worker representative, the employer must respond in writing within 30 days.

If the employer accepts the recommendation, the response must include a timeline for implementing the recommendation and any interim control measures. If the employer does not accept the recommendation, the written response must include the reasons for the decision.

Role of safety and health committees and worker representatives

Safety and health committees and worker representatives help the employer and workers to improve safety and health in the workplace by:
  • Making recommendations to management for the control and elimination of hazards

  • Providing a route of communication between the employer and workers

  • Conducting regular workplace inspections

  • Talking with workers about their safety and health concerns

  • Meeting to discuss safety and health concerns, and making recommendations to the employer for corrective action to be taken to resolve those concerns

  • Taking part in investigation of serious incidents (co-chair or designate, or worker representative)

  • Calling special meetings to deal with matters of urgent concern (co-chairs or designates, or worker representative) 

Reference to legal requirements under workplace safety and health legislation:

  • Workplace Safety and Health Committees and Representatives: Manitoba Regulation 217/2006 Part 3
  • Reprisals: Workplace Safety and Health Act W210 Part 42(1)

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