Unions Hinder Workplace Safety, Says Poll Results


Under the OHS laws, many stakeholders play a role in workplace safety, including employers, supervisors, workers and yes, even unions.

But the role of unions is one of the most overlooked issues in workplace safety. And whether unions are actually fulfilling their role and helping to improve conditions for workers is up for debate.

In fact, when we recently asked if you think unions help or hinder workplace safety, we got 124 responses that fell into these camps:

  • Hinder (58%)
  • A little of both (27%)
  • Help (12%)
  • Neither (3%).

What’s interesting about safety professionals’ unfavourable perception of the effectiveness of unions is that unions and their officials are often very outspoken about what they perceive to be defects in the workplace safety system, specific employers’ safety efforts and enforcement of the OHS laws.

Given our poll results, perhaps unions should take some time to look inwards and evaluate their own workplace safety efforts.

To learn more about the role of unions under OHS legislation, watch the recording and/or download the slides from this webinar, which provides a detailed look at this role and provides guidance to unionized employers on the most challenging OHS issues in a unionized environment.

The webinar covers:

  • The role of unions on the JHSC and in “work refusals”
  • How unions can participate in administration of appeals of Orders by OHS regulators
  • The potential liability of unions under so-called “Bill C-45”
  • The responsibility of unions for members charged with OHS offences
  • The significance of OHS collective agreement language
  • Recent trends in union grievances related to discipline for workplace safety infractions
  • How bargaining unit members can be treated as “supervisors” under OHS legislation
  • Strategies for collective bargaining on OHS issues.