Chapter 5: Workplace Safety

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, the reader will be able to:

  • Identify the rights and responsibilities of employees, employers, supervisors, and owners in the workplace.
  • Find appropriate workplace regulations both at work and through the WorkSafe BC website.
  • Explain the difference between a hazard and a risk and be able to identify them.
  • Define personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Define the terms incident and accident.
  • Identify the need for good documentation regarding accidents and injuries.
  • Define the term due diligence.
  • Describe what a safe working environment looks like.

Learning Objectives

  • Accident – “an unplanned event that interrupts the completion of an activity, and that may include injury or property damage” and often includes an element of fate or chance (CCOHS, 2019).
  • Ergonomics – The science or system of ensuring safe workplace conditions for the worker and can include but is not limited to lifting, desk positioning, lighting, driving, and repetitive tasks such as using hand tools.
  • Hazard – The harm that something can cause to a person’s health, to property, or to the environment (Government of Canada, 2009).
  • Incident – Any “occurrence, condition, or situation arising in the course of work that resulted in or could have resulted in injuries, illnesses, damage to health” or property (CCOHS, 2019).
  • PPE – Personal protective equipment.
  • OHS or OH&S – Occupational Health and Safety.
  • SDS – Safety Data Sheets, sometimes referred to as MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). These are summary documents that outline the hazards of a product and advise regarding proper handling and use.
  • Supervisor – According to WorkSafeBC, a supervisor “is a person who instructs, directs, and controls workers in the performance of their duties. A supervisor can be any worker – management or staff – who meets this definition, whether or not [they] have the supervisor title. If someone in the workplace has a supervisor’s responsibilities, that person is responsible for worker health and safety” (WorkSafeBC, 2021a).
  • WHMIS – An abbreviation for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, which is the system for providing information about chemicals used in the workplace. This information should be provided through product labels, material safety data sheets (MSDS), and worker education programs. (CCOHS, 2021)
  • WorkSafe BC – The provincial organization that governs work safety in British Columbia. Each province and territory have a designated agency. WorkSafeBC provides work health insurance, information and education, compensation, and support around workplace safety.

Case Study: Niko (He/Him) Gets a Safety Orientation

Niko is starting his workplace assignment today at Paint 4 Less as a shop assistant. Upon arriving, the manager, Ben introduces Niko to all of the staff and shows him around the shop giving him an orientation at the same time. Ben emphasizes that one of the most important parts of his training will be workplace safety. Ben encourages Niko to make notes and ask any questions. After the orientation, Ben sets up Niko on the back desk to begin his WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) training on the computer and shows Niko where to find the safety data sheets (SDSs). Ben explains some of the common hazards of the store and explains how to identify and respond to those hazards. Niko is ready to complete his WHMIS.



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Getting Ready for Work-Integrated Learning Copyright © 2022 by Deb Nielsen; Emily Ballantyne; Faatimah Murad; and Melissa Fournier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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