Occupational health and safety is everyone’s business

Occupational health and safety is everyone’s business

In 2021, Quebec recorded more than 200 work-related deaths, more than 93,000 workplace accidents and more than 12,000 occupational diseases. It’s just too much! However, solutions can be found to turn the situation around.

To achieve this goal, employers and workers must collaborate in taking charge of occupational health and safety by applying the prevention approach: identifying, correcting and controlling risks. Making workplaces healthier and safer is a shared responsibility.

Whether workers are employees of an SME or a large company, there are health and safety risks in all workplaces and in all sectors of activity. How can you improve your safety and that of others?

Firstly, by identifying the risks of occupational accidents or diseases to which everyone can be exposed. After all, workers know their tasks and their working environment well. They are then in the best position to identify the risks and report them to their employer, or their Prevention Representative, Health and Safety Representative or Health and Safety Liaison Officer.

In collaboration with the employer, workers can actively participate in the search for concrete solutions put in place to correct the identified risks. The second phase of the prevention approach aims to eliminate the risk or, failing that, to apply preventive measures to control this risk. The third and final step is to ensure that control measures for identified risks, such as monitoring or follow-up measures, are implemented on a long-term basis.

The role of the employer, the workers

While workers can do a lot, it is up to the employer to establish a lasting culture of prevention in occupational health and safety. The employer must take the necessary measures to protect the health and ensure the safety and physical and mental integrity of its employees.

He also has the obligation to supervise the safety of the work organization and of the methods and techniques used to carry it out. Furthermore, he must adequately inform the worker of the risks associated with his job and provide him with adequate training, instruction and supervision so that he has the skills and knowledge necessary to safely carry out the work entrusted to him.

Workers also have obligations, namely to take the necessary measures to protect their health and safety and to ensure that they do not endanger other people in the workplace.

Exchange places

Among the participation mechanisms provided for by law, there is of course the formation of a health and safety committee, a legal requirement for establishments with 20 or more employees. This obligation is shared between the employer and the workers. The primary objective is the prevention of accidents at work and occupational diseases.

There are also other ways to increase participation in the workplace, such as health and safety breaks which can be held on a weekly basis and which allow a specific question to be addressed in a short time (eg 15 minutes); whether it is a change in the way of doing things following the identification of a new risk and the implementation of preventive measures in relation to its appearance or a procedure to be reviewed, for example . Sharing ideas very often allows to improve practices. Informal exchanges can also help shed light on problematic situations that are encountered on a daily basis.

All of this can only work on one condition: workers must be able to express themselves without fear of losing their jobs. They also need to feel heard. When they raise a safety concern or identify a risk, the employer must take action by implementing the necessary corrective measures and following up with their staff.

It is important to remember that prevention is a daily experience as there are always changes in a workplace, whether it is the arrival of new workers, the installation of new tools and equipment or the adoption of new ways of doing things. the things. It is by maintaining open communication between employers and workers that we can make progress for a healthier and safer work environment.

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