Workplace Injury: What are your rights?

Occupational Health and Safety Act: An Introduction

A Workplace’s health and safety is governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990 c.O.1 and several regulations. The employers are required to post a copy of this act at their workplace.  This act outlines the different safety procedures to be followed in each industry such as mining, construction. However, s. 3 (2), (3) specifies the unregulated areas consisting of farming operations, teachers, and self-employed individuals. Additionally, the decisions regarding workplace health and safety are dependent upon determining the duties of each party involved and the extent of these duties. This act also addresses the safety hazards associated with toxic substances and operating machinery in the workplace. The safety hazards involved are briefly listed as follows:

1)      Contacting moving parts leading to Muscleskeleton Disorder. Briefly, s 28 (2) of the act specifies the duties of the employees such as, reporting any hazard or defect in the equipment.

2)      Contact with fire, electricity, and heat may lead to harmful radiation.

3)      Contact with pressurized gasses and liquids expose health hazards for example, harmful chemicals.


Workplaces in Ontario require at least one health and safety representative in each non-managerial position for every or more employees, requiring him/her to conduct physical inspection at least once a month, and anytime a workplace accident occurs. However, this act mentions summary reports containing important information, such as the number of work, accidental fatalities, number of lost work day cases, non-fatal cases requiring medical aid, and the number of occupational illness cases, can be obtained from Workplace Safety and the Insurance Board. The workplace injuries are paid out by the insurance plans governed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA). The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) have various functions, that mostly require the ability to provide no fault liability insurance, industry safety guidelines to employers, providing loss of earnings, and covers health care cost for the employees. All employers are required to have a no fault liability insurance for their workplace and employees within 10 days of hiring their full time and part time employees. The premiums for the no fault liability insurance coverages are dependent on businesses classified on the basis of health and safety risks, records of the business, and the size of the payroll.

Duties of Employers

Most importantly, s 25 (1) of the act outlines the duties of the employers, specifically one of them being ensuring the equipment, material and any operating device to be in a good condition. The diseases caused by the workplace health and safety hazards are often classified as “occupational disease”: The health and safety Ontario specifies the following accounts for most of the occupational diseases: contact with machinery, slipping or falling, and musculoskeletal disorder. The Workplace Safety and Prevention Services describes that eighty percent of injuries at workplaces are caused by slip and fall due to tripping, jobs requiring working on height, and unsuitable footwear. The employers are required to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the workers and to potentially prevent any workplace injuries. The data suggests that informing the employees of the existing dangers as a significant mitigating factor in the workplace injuries.

Duties of Employees

Furthermore, the act also specifies the duties of employees while dealing with hazardous material in the workplace and filing claims with the WSIB. The employees are responsible for reporting any changes in income, health status and jobs affecting their WSIB benefits within 10 days. The workers are also required to ensure the accuracy of their data reported. Reporting a misleading event such as the level of impairment in receiving a WSIB benefit is considered an offence. Any individual found with any offence will be fined up to $25,000 and/or six months in jail. Some of the workplace hazards causing occupational diseases such as; Asthma, blood silicosis, and Dermatitis are as follows:

–        Noise or vibration

–        Extremely hot and cold temperatures or air pressures

–        dust or gases

Dhanvir Sohal is a Paralegal student at Centennial College in Toronto studying professional communications with Omar Ha-Redeye.




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