Safety at Work: It’s Everyone’s Job

Creating a Safe Workplace is Everyone's Job

Safety isn’t just a matter of following a few rules or a checklist. It takes a culture of safety to keep patients, clients, visitors, coworkers, and others safe. The culture of a workplace is the way people do their work and interact with others on the job. A culture of safety means that everyone in the organization values health and well-being and uses those values to guide their daily work.

The culture of a workplace is the way people do their work and interact with others on the job. 


The Organization

  • Maintains effective safety policies, procedures, and guidelines
  • Acts proactively to prevent problems rather than wait until there’s a major incident
  • Finds balance—people aren’t automatically punished for reporting an incident or near-miss, but everyone is still accountable for their actions

Managers and Leaders

  • Make sure that everyone has the resources to follow guidelines, such as education and access to personal protective equipment
  • “Walk the talk” every day in their own work
  • Listen to everyone and take concerns or complaints seriously
  • Actively involve employees in tasks like planning, risk assessment, and training

All Employees

  • Follow policies, procedures, and guidelines
  • Seek information, education, and advice when they need it
  • Speak up if they notice a problem at work
  • Participate in safety initiatives and tasks

Each person is an important part of the culture of safety. If managers set rules that employees don’t follow or if managers ignore feedback from employees, for example, that culture can break down. There may be more accidents, problems, or near-misses because safety is no longer a priority. People may take riskier shortcuts to save time, fail to notice errors, fail to respond to problems or fail to communicate important information to others. It’s up to everyone to do their part—your actions keep your coworkers safe, and your coworkers keep you safe.


Refusing Unsafe Work

Workers in BC have the right to refuse work if you believe that the job is unsafe for you or someone else. Your workplace can’t punish you for speaking up or refuse to pay you. The first step is to talk with your supervisor or manager about the problem. If your employer doesn’t fix the problem, you can notify WorkSafeBC. For more information, visit


If Your Workplace Doesn’t Take a Problem or Concern Seriously

  • Contact your workplace Health and Safety Committee
  • Contact your union steward to see how the union can help
  • Contact WorkSafeBC to report accidents, unsafe work conditions, or safety concerns by calling 604-276-3100 (in the Lower Mainland) or 1-888-621-7233 (toll-free in the rest of Canada). For more information about this program, visit