In addition to the OHSA, your Collective Agreement imposes a duty on your Employer to make reasonable provisions for your health and safety. These additional protections are an advantage of being a unionized professional.
3. Your supervisor must investigate the situation immediately. They must do so with you and a Health & Safety Representative or Workplace Representative present. Remain in a safe place reasonably close to your workstation and be available to your supervisor while they investigate.
4. Once the investigation is complete:
if you are satisfied that the situation is resolved, you can return to work; or
if you are still concerned for your safety and wish to continue to refuse the work you consider unsafe, the issue will progress to the second stage.
The role of a certified member of a Joint Health & Safety Committee
In Ontario, most workplaces with 20 or more workers must have a Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC), made up of at least one worker member and one employer member.
Under certain circumstances, a trained, certified member of a JHSC can order a “stop work” direction:
This certified member must believe that “dangerous circumstances” exist and will request that the Employer investigate. Once the investigation is complete, if the certified member believes that the dangerous circumstances still exist, they may ask a second certified member to investigate. In this scenario, one of the certified members must represent workers; the other must represent the Employer.
If both certified members believe the dangerous circumstances still exist, they can direct the Employer to stop the work or stop the use of any part of the workplace. The Employer must immediately comply with this direction. Only the certified members on the JHSC or an inspector with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development can cancel the direction.
If the certified members do not agree that dangerous circumstances exist, either one can request that an inspector with the Ministry investigate.