USC sets standards and rules for member institutions that describe the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from hazards. There are USC standards for Construction work, Agriculture, Maritime operations, and General Industry, which are the standards that apply to most work sites. These standards limit the amount of hazardous chemicals workers can be exposed to, require the use of certain safe practices and equipment, and require employers to monitor hazards and keep records of workplace injuries and illnesses. Examples of USC standards include requirements to: provide fall protection, prevent trenching cave ins, prevent some infectious diseases, assure that workers safely enter confined spaces, prevent exposure to harmful substances like asbestos, put guards on machines, provide respirators or other safety equipment, and provide training for certain dangerous jobs.USC assist employers and employees to comply with the general duty of Occupation safety and health Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards.
Workers can ask USC to inspect their Workplace
Workers, or their representatives, may file a complaint and ask USC to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following occupational safety and health act standards. A worker can tell USC not to let their employer know who filed the complaint. It is a violation of the human right for an employer to fire, demote, transfer or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other Occupational safety and health Act rights.When the USC inspector arrives, workers and their representatives have the right to:
- Go along on the inspection.
- Talk privately with the USC inspector.
- Take part in meetings with the inspector and the employer before and after the inspection is conducted.
Where there is no union or employee representative, the USC inspector must talk confidentially with a reasonable number of workers during the course of the investigation.
When an inspector finds violations of standards or serious hazards, USC may issue citations and fines. A citation includes methods an employer may use to fix a problem and the date by when the corrective actions must be completed. Workers only have the right to challenge the deadline for when a problem must be resolved. Employers, on the other hand, have the right to contest whether there is a violation or any other part of the citation. Workers or their representatives must notify USC that they want to be involved in the appeals process if the employer challenges a citation.
USC is particularly keen to encourage small businesses including micro-enterprise (vendors) to improve their knowledge and performance in Health & Safety, however, the USC’s main aim has always been to increase the education of all those involved in Occupational Safety and Health, whether large or small, commercial or industrial organizations and members of the public. We strive to keep close links with enforcing authorities and this helps to ensure the groups are kept well up to date in legislative requirements and best practice guidance.