Why do workers need a health & safety law?
Over 300 workers die every year because of work related accidents and disease. In 1999, more than 367,000 workers made claims to the Workplace Safety and insurance Board or WSIB (formerly the Workers’ Compensation Board or WCB) because they were hurt at work or their work made them sick.
Almost 1/3 of those workers needed to take at least one day off work. Many more workers would be hurt if there was no law to help protect them.
In Ontario, the law that protects workers is the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OH&S Act). It makes the workplace safer. The OH&S Act also gives workers three basic rights so they can change unsafe working conditions.
Workers must understand the OH&S Act and know how and when to use it. Such knowledge allows workers to take home not only their pay but their health as well.
What does the Workplace Safety and insurance Board do for me?
Workers who miss work due to a workplace injury are eligible to receive financial compensation from the WSIB. Injured workers receive a percentage of their regular wage. Payments will continue until the worker has recovered and can return to work.
Most employers in Ontario pay the WSIB to administer benefits to injured workers. The system can be thought of as a type of insurance for employers. It is important for workers to know if their employer is covered by the WSIB or by a private insurance plan.