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Workplace health and safety

Employer and supervisor safety responsibilities A scenic view of the river and mountains

Safety orientation

Worker safety rights

Worker safety responsibilities

Workers' compensation

Workplace injuries

Questions about workplace safety

Workplace safety is very important in Canada and Yukon. Canada has strong laws to help keep workers safe at work. Employers and workers must follow these laws. These laws may be very different from the laws in your home country. In Canada, employers and workers work together to make workplaces safe.

Employer and supervisor safety responsibilities

Employers and supervisors are responsible for the safety of their workers. Supervisors must

  • Teach you how to do every part of your job safely.
  • Give you any necessary personal protective equipment (PPE)—for example, a hard hat or safety glasses—and make sure that you know how to use it properly. (Yukon employers do not have to pay for basic safety footwear and general-purpose work gloves for their workers. Workers must pay for this PPE themselves.)
  • Tell you about anything in your workplace that could hurt you or make you sick—for example, a chemical used for cleaning that could hurt your lungs if you breathe it in or burn your skin if you don’t wear special gloves.
  • Not allow workers to work if they are impaired from drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
  • Report incidents immediately to the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.
  • Report workplace injuries and illnesses immediately to the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

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Safety orientation

When you start a new job, your employer will give you an orientation to show you around the workplace and to explain what you will do in your job. The orientation should happen on your first day of work before you begin working.

Workplace safety is an important part of your orientation. Your employer should answer all of these questions before you start working. If not, ask!

  • What hazards (dangers) are there in my job?
  • Do I have to wear any personal protective equipment (PPE)? Where do I get this PPE? Who will train me to use this PPE correctly and safely?
  • What should I do in an emergency—for example, if there is a fire?
  • Where are the first aid kits, fire extinguishers and other emergency equipment?
  • Who should I ask if I have a safety question?
  • What should I do if I get hurt at work?

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Worker safety rights

All workers in Canada have three basic safety rights at work. You have:

  • The right to know how to do your job safely. This includes the right to proper training and the right to use any necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). You have the right to know about anything in your job that could hurt you or make you sick. You have the right to know how to protect yourself from getting hurt or sick at work.
  • The right to participate in health and safety programs at your workplace. This means that you can ask questions, ask for more training, and join a safety committee.
  • The right to refuse to do work that you believe is not safe for you or for another worker.

You may come from a country where there are different and perhaps fewer workplace safety rules than in Canada. You may have to learn to do your job differently here than how you did it back home—for example, you may have to use PPE that you did not have to use in your home country.

To work safely here, you may have to read information about chemicals or equipment or tools. Your right to know how to do your job safely is very important, but it is more than a right: It is your responsibility.

You may be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions about safety at work or to admit that you don't understand the instructions you read or hear. You may be afraid to tell your supervisor about a dangerous situation—a broken piece of equipment, for example. You may be afraid to refuse to do work that you think is unsafe. You may not want to report that another worker is doing his or her work unsafely. But in Canada, the law says that you must report hazards and unsafe work. If you don’t say anything, you or another worker could get hurt or even killed.

Your employer cannot punish you, you cannot be fired or deported, and your employment or immigration status will not be affected if you:

  • Ask questions about safety at work.
  • Report unsafe equipment or procedures.
  • Refuse to do work that you believe is not safe.

If you are afraid to say something about safety at your job, you can call the Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board (WCB) at 667-5450 or 1-800-661-0443. You do not have to give your name. WCB can send a safety officer to your workplace to look at the situation and tell your employer to fix any safety problems. WCB does not need to tell your employer that someone called them.

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Worker safety responsibilities

Workers have workplace safety responsibilities. You must:

  • Follow all health and safety procedures and instructions.
  • Ask your supervisor if you don’t understand how to do something.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety clothing.
  • Immediately report broken or unsafe equipment or other hazards to your supervisor. You cannot ignore a problem or wait for someone else to fix it; you must fix it if you can. For example, you should clean up spills, remove broken glass or put a “do not use” sign on a broken ladder or other piece of equipment.
  • Not play jokes on other workers or fight on the job.
  • Not come to work if you are impaired from drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
  • Report all incidents and injuries immediately to your supervisor.
  • Report serious injuries to the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board. Tell the truth about what happened.

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Workers’ compensation

Sometimes workers get hurt at work. Most injuries are not serious, but sometimes a worker has to see a doctor and take time off work to get better. Canada has a special kind of insurance to help injured workers when they cannot go to work. It is called workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation is for all workers in Yukon, no matter what kind of work you do, and whether you work full-time or part-time.

Workers’compensation pays your medical costs, including prescription drugs, medical fees and hospital expenses. Workers’ compensation also pays part of your wages while you are off work getting better.

Employers pay 100% of the costs of workers’ compensation. Employers are not allowed to deduct money from workers’ wages to pay for workers’ compensation.

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Workplace injuries

If you are hurt at work:

  • Tell your supervisor immediately.
  • Get medical help.
  • Get first aid at work and then decide if you need to go to the hospital or see a doctor. At the hospital or doctor’s office, you must say that you got hurt at work. 
  • Write down what happened. Even if you are not badly hurt, write down what happened in your workplace first aid or incident book. Do this as soon as possible so that you don’t forget anything. If your workplace doesn’t have a first aid or incident book, write it on a calendar or a piece of paper and put it in a safe place. Some injuries don’t seem bad at first, but they can get worse in a few hours or a few days. For example, a cut or a burn can get infected, and you might have to see a doctor or take time off work later. It’s important that you write down what happened, when it happened, so that you have proof.
  • Fill out a Worker’s Report of Injury and send it to the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board. Your employer will fill out a different form, but you must fill out the Worker’s Report of Injury yourself. (You can get someone to help you if necessary.)
  • After a few days, call the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board to make sure that they have your report and that they don’t need any more information from you.

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Questions about workplace safety?

You can call the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (WCB) if you have any questions about workplace safety or to report an unsafe situation at your job. In Whitehorse, call 667-5450. Outside of Whitehorse call 1-800-661-0443.

You can ask questions without giving your name or saying where you work. You can also visit the WCB office at 401 Strickland Street to talk to someone in person. If your English is not very good, WCB will arrange for an interpreter who speaks your language. Your employer cannot punish you, and you cannot be fired or deported for calling WCB.

You can also call the Immigration Unit if you have questions or concerns about safety at your job. In Whitehorse, call 667-5131. Outside Whitehorse call 1-800-661-0408 extension 5131.

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