Your Rights

The New Brunswick Occupational Health and Safety Act gives employees three basic rights to ensure their safety at work.

Definition of employee
(a) a person employed at a place of employment, or
(b) a person at a place of employment for any purpose in connection to the place of employment 

What are my rights as an employee?

No matter what job responsibilities you may have, all employees have the following three fundamental rights:

1. Right to know

All employees have a right to receive the training needed to do the job safely. All employees, new, transferred or experienced, should be made aware of:

  • Workplace hazards
  • Safe work procedures
  • Emergency procedures

If at any time you are unsure about a task on the job or are concerned about your personal safety or the safety of others, you should talk to your supervisor about receiving additional on-the-job training.

2. Right to participate

All employees have a right to participate in solving health and safety problems and in the identification and control of workplace hazards. In workplaces with 20 or more employees, joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) are formed to address health and safety concerns. It is a good idea for employees to know who the workplace JHSC representatives are in case you have a question or concern related to workplace health or safety.

3. Right to refuse dangerous work

All employees have the right to refuse work they believe is dangerous to their health or safety, or to that of others. If you are unsure about your safety at work, you should take the following steps:


Report the safety concern to your supervisor. If the problem is resolved, return to work. If not, then:


Report the matter to the joint health and safety committee or to the safety representative. If it is still not resolved, then:


Call WorkSafeNB and explain the situation. Return to work only when the situation is no longer dangerous.

In all cases, you should stay at work until your shift is finished.

Certain conditions apply, and all those involved in a work refusal must follow a process. The following documents outline these conditions and the process, and will help answer any questions on the right to refuse:

Work Refusal Flow Chart

Sample Right to Refuse Form

Right to Refuse Dangerous Work (pocket pamphlet)

Information for New Workers

Occupational Health and Safety Act (Sections 19 to 27)

What is an arbitration?

An arbitration, generally, is a forum designed to settle disputes arising when an employee complains that an employer or union has discriminated against them for trying to exercise a fundamental right under the Act. For more information, please refer to the arbitration section of this website.

Under section 25 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, an employee may file a complaint against an employer or union if the employer or union has taken, or threatens to take, a discriminatory action against the employee because the employee complied with the Act, the regulations or an order or because the employee sought the enforcement of the Act, the regulations or an order. If you have such a complaint, please complete Form 1.


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