Workplace Safety and Health Message

A Message from Your President & Vice-President

(Taken from the special edition of the Workplace Safety and Health RETTA Record )

Whether you are a clinician, a coordinator, a principal or a teacher (all RETTA members), you are holding an important document regarding your working conditions and the legislative regulations that apply to your position. This special Workplace Safety and Health Edition of the RETTA Record is intended to be a handy reference and overview of Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) for RETTA members. Please keep this special edition close by as a source of information or as a guide to seek further information.

For members’ purposes, the WSH Act focuses on the duties of three groups: the employer (school division), workers (RETTA members) and RETTA members who are supervisors (principals/vice-principals). The duties of the three groups are clearly spelt out within the legislation and its regulations.

The Act outlines the school division’s responsibilities. For example, the Act states that the “employer ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and well being of all his workers (RETTA members)…”. The Act also states further duties of the division, such as providing and maintaining a workplace that is safe and without risks to health, and to provide all RETTA members “with such information, instruction, training, supervision and facilities to ensure…the safety, health and welfare at work” of all RETTA members.

Principals are RETTA members and are protected by the WSH Act. However, in their positions as principals/vice-principals, the WSH Act identifies them as supervisors and outlines their specific duties. For example, the Act states that “every supervisor shall, so far as is reasonably practicable, take all precautions   necessary to protect the safety and health of a worker (RETTA member)…”. The Act also states that principals/vice-principals will advise a worker of all known or foreseeable risks to safety and health.

All RETTA members are considered workers under the Act. As one would expect, there are also general duties or expectations of members.  A prominent duty for all RETTA members is to “take reasonable care to protect their safety and health and the safety and health of other persons…”. As well, there is a clear expectation that RETTA members will comply with the WSH Act and the Regulations.

The Act applies to RETTA members every day. According to legislation it is a right to have a workplace that secures workers “from risks to their safety, health and welfare arising out of, or in connection with, activities in their workplaces”. Every worker is protected by the Act and RETTA members are entitled to that protection

Accompanying the rights of a safe workplace is the expectation that every RETTA member has a responsibility to ensure a safe workplace. As always, rights and responsibilities are inextricably connected.

As a member, you must expect a safe workplace and you must ensure a safe workplace for you and for others.

Following the report to your supervisor, please fill out the RETSD Workplace Safety Concern or Incident Report Form, which can be found on in the Staff Portal (Departments – Workplace Safety & Health) or on the RETTA website. Completing and submitting an Incident Report Form identifies the risk to members and will be another step in eliminating that risk. Many risks can be addressed at the worksite level.  However, submission of the Incident Report Form will not only have the risk addressed at the school level, but will also be sent to the RETSD Safety Officer, where the form will be recorded.  As well, this information will be shared with the Joint WS&H Committee.

Recently, RETTA members have become more acutely aware of violence in the workplace.  Violence in any form is not to be tolerated. If you are a victim of violence (or a near miss) in the workplace you should ensure that your principal / vice-principal / supervisor is made aware of the incident, and then fill out an Incident Report Form. If an act of violence (or near miss) is repeated throughout your workday, you should be filling out an Incident Report Form for each and every act. Your principal / vice-principal / supervisor will investigate each incident and put in place control measures to ensure that similar incidents do not occur.

Please remember that an entry into My Referrals does not replace the WS&H form!

As an individual, you can have a positive impact for other RETTA members and other employees by reporting these incidents. Problems cannot be addressed if problems aren’t identified.

Members are compelled to report each incident so that action can be taken, supports can be established and protection of other members can occur.

Although reporting incidents and completing the Incident Report Form is an individual act, you are demonstrating your support of the entire membership who, in turn, is supporting you through the same procedure.

In no way can the submission of the form be used against a member for evaluation or disciplinary purposes.

This guarantee is in legislation. Furthermore, a member is also in contravention if he/she witnesses an incident that occurred to someone else and doesn’t fill out the form.

Therefore, support your colleagues (and future colleagues), the students and the Division by filling out the Incident Report Form each and every time an incident or near miss occurs. As always, take care of yourself and take care of each other!

Post a comment