Roles, rights and responsibilities of workplace parties

Employer roles and responsibilities

As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring your workplace is safe. This means:

  • your machinery and equipment are well designed, properly maintained and do not pose a risk;
  • you have safe work procedures in place to prevent or reduce the risk of occupational illnesses and injuries, and these procedures are followed;
  • you provide thorough, job-specific training to your workers;
  • your workers know about hazards and how to protect themselves;
  • your workers know about their rights, responsibilities and duties;
  • you mentor any young workers and provide detailed instructions about the job and how to do it safely;
  • you ensure your employees are overseen by competent supervisors;
  • you carry all the duties and responsibilities of a supervisor;
  • you have adequate first aid on site;
  • you report a serious injury or illness immediately; 
  • you record any workplace incidents, regardless of the severity;
  • you keep records of incidents for three years to protect your employee in the event of unforeseen complications and to safeguard your investment in the insurance program—your records will help your employees get the benefits you paid for;
  • you support health and safety activities and document what you have done.

Emergency transport

The employer pays for emergency transport from the injury site to a hospital, doctor, nursing station or wherever necessary to get appropriate first care.

The first-aid attendant decides if the injury requires emergency transport.

When there isn’t a first-aid attendant, the employer, worker or any available person on site may call for emergency transport.

Supervisor roles and responsibilities

As a supervisor, you are a worker who is responsible for making sure other workers are performing their duties properly and safely.

This means:

  • you carry all the duties and responsibilities of a supervisor and a worker
  • you must report a serious injury or illness immediately and if there has been a workplace incident, you must record it, regardless of the severity;
  • you are competent—this is the law;
  • you ensure all workers:
    • are instructed how to do jobs safely;
    • perform their jobs and use equipment safely;
    • are informed about workplace danger; and
    • are removed if they are intoxicated or impaired.

A competent supervisor

To be a competent supervisor means you understand your legal obligations for the health and safety of your workers. These obligations include the following.

Health and safety program

  • Know and understand all the elements of the employer’s health and safety program;
  • Promote and enforce the employer’s safety standards;
  • Understand the responsibilities of managers, supervisors and workers;
  • Know the regulatory requirements related to the work you supervise;
  • Overcome the gaps between “what we say we do” about safety and “what we actually do”; and
  • Demonstrate the knowledge, experience and ability to organize work on the jobsite.


  • Understand the purpose and types of inspections;
  • Conduct inspections;
  • Prioritize concerns;
  • Report problems and follow them up;
  • Sell recommendations to management and workers.


  • Know the reasons for investigations;
  • Know when to investigate;
  • Know how to prepare for an investigation;
  • Know your legislative obligations;
  • Know how to conduct investigations that determine causes and result in recommendations to prevent recurrence;
  • Draft reports and follow them up;
  • Sell recommendations to management and workers.


  • Oversee training;
  • Understand the reasons for training;
  • Provide on-the-job training;
  • Conduct effective safety meetings;
  • Plan and conduct training sessions.

Worker roles, rights and responsibilities

On a worksite, everyone has varying levels of responsibility for workplace health and safety. You should know and understand your responsibilities—and those of others.

Worker rights

You have three key rights.
  • The right to know about hazards in the workplace.
  • The right to participate in health and safety activities in the workplace.
  • The right to refuse unsafe work.*

*By law, employers are prohibited from penalizing workers for raising a health and safety issue.

Worker responsibilities

As a worker, you play an important role in making sure you—and your co-workers—stay healthy and safe on the job. You must:

  • Be alert to hazards. Report them immediately to your supervisor or employer.
  • Follow health and safety work procedures and instructions and act safely in the workplace at all times.
  • Use the protective clothing, devices and equipment provided. Be sure to wear them properly.
  • Report any incident or injury that arises at the workplace to your supervisor or employer.
  • Get treatment quickly should an injury happen on the job and tell the health care provider that the injury is work related.
  • Follow the treatment advice of health care providers.
  • Return to work safely after an injury by modifying your duties and not immediately starting with your full, regular responsibilities.
  • Never work under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other substance, or if you're overly tired