Health, Safety and the Environment
Unions historically spoke of three fundamental workers' rights in health and safety:
The right to participate is very important to us and forms the centrepiece of an effective workplace health and safety program. In some ways, the other two "rights" flow from this one. The CEP's predecessor unions fought for Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSCs) so that those with the most knowledge of the hazards and who are directly exposed to the risks - the workers - would have a voice in health and safety conditions at work. Our objective is to empower our members.
In addition, the CEP worked for better legislation and regulation. To back up joint workplace approaches, good regulations and good enforcement are necessary. It is not a question of one approach being better than the other. Without a workplace consensus on the need for occupational health and safety excellence, there will never be enough regulation and enforcement to make a difference. Without the laws, however, there is no way to deal with those employers who are unwilling to make a joint approach work.
In recent years, environmental issues have been included with occupational health and safety. We have a responsibility to protect our members' health, however it is being affected. Not only are the same substances and processes often involved, but our experience in fighting for occupational health and safety can be instructive in the fight to save the environment.
Health, Safety and Environmental Assistance and Services
The following assistance and services are available from the CEP. Some of these are available through our Regional Offices; others are available through the CEP National Office. In every case, your first step is to contact the National Representative servicing your local union. They will direct your request or inquiry to the appropriate place.
For more information on specific health and safety concerns, we provide the following articles