LEGISLATION AND THE INTERNAL RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
The Workplace Safety and Health Act supports every worker’s right to a safe and healthy workplace. The duty for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace falls on every person in the workplace, to the degree they have the authority and ability to do so. Whether they are the President of the University or the newest staff or Faculty member, everyone has a personal and shared responsibility for working together co-operatively to prevent injuries and occupational illnesses.
Because employers have the greatest degree of control over the workplace, they also have the greatest degree of legal responsibility for safety and health. But this does not relieve supervisors and workers from their duty to co-operate in controlling workplace hazards and to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from hazards. The Workplace Safety And Health Act also recognizes that only workers who are adequately informed and empowered can effectively fulfil their responsibilities. The Workplace Safety And Health Act grants four important rights to workers:
Right to Know about workplace hazards, including how to identify hazards and protect themselves from those hazards, and about the rights afforded to workers under the Act.
Right to Participate in decisions related to workplace safety and health, free of reprisal for their participation. Participation, in part, is achieved through consultation with the committee or representative.
Right to Refuse dangerous work.
Right to Protection from Discrimination protects these rights by prohibiting employers from imposing discipline or other sanction on workers for fulfilling their responsibilities or exercising their rights.
The goal of an internal responsibility system is to get people working together to identify and control situations (hazards) that could cause harm. Its ultimate objective is to ensure everyone integrates safety and health into their work.
‘Due Diligence’ means everyone at the workplace must take precautions reasonable in the circumstances to avoid a work related injury or illness. This concept of “reasonable care” holds individuals accountable for their acts (what they do) and omissions (what they fail to do). It goes beyond simple “regulatory compliance.” What is “reasonably practicable” is determined by asking what a reasonable person, in the same position and circumstance, would have done to prevent the incident. When making that determination, three main factors need to be taken into account; foreseeability, preventability and control.