Worker Responsibilities

According to Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Section 1(1), a worker means “a person who performs work or supplies services for monetary compensation.”

Workers have certain responsibilities, outlined in Section 28 of the OHSA. In practice, these responsibilities amount to taking prescribed training and completing documentation, working in accordance with written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and reporting hazards to the appropriate supervisor so the situation can be corrected.  See below.

Worker Responsibilites

OHSA Section 28

Applies To:

  • Laboratory Supervisors
  • TAs
  • Post Docs
  • Research Engineers/Technical Staff
  • Research Associates/Fellow
  • Grad Students (not technically employees, but applies nonetheless)
  • Summer Student Researchers
The duties of an worker are explicitly defined in the OHSA, Section 28. The worker is required to:

  • Work in compliance with all prescribed workplace health and safety directives;
  • Use protective equipment and devices, as prescribed;
  • Report to the supervisor any safety-related equipment defects;
  • Report to the supervisor any workplace hazard.



Job Hazard Analysis

  • Stipulated by EOHSS
  • Complete with your supervisor

Eng Phys-Specific Hazard Assessment Form

  • To be completed annually for each student
  • Supervisor must review assessment and sign off
 General Mandatory Training

Site-Specific Mandatory Training

  • Any specialized training for equipment or activities in a faculty research lab. An SOP should already exist for any such task. Supervisors should log this training and acquire signatures.
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Employer Responsibilities

Duties of the Employer are explicitly defined in the OHSA, Sections 25 and 26.

To paraphrase, the employer is required to:

  • acquaint workers and supervisors with an hazard associated with the work or workplace;
  • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker;
  • appoint a competent supervisor;
  • prescribe and provide appropriate safety equipment, materials, and protective devices;
  • ensure that the safety equipment, etc., are maintained in good condition;
  • ensure that prescribed safety measures are implemented and respected;
  • assist the workplace health and safety committee in carrying out their duties;
  • provide appropriate training to employees

This is an extensive undertaking. Responsibilities are therefore downloaded to supervisors and workers.

McMaster University’s Workplace and Environmental Health and Safety Policy (RMM 100) requires students “to comply with all University health, safety and environmental programs.”

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Supervisor Responsibilities

According to OHSA, Section 1(1) Supervisor means “a person who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker.”

In Eng Phys and the CEDT, Supervisors would include:

  • Faculty who supervise graduate students, research staff, or volunteers
  • Retired Faculty who supervise students, research staff, volunteers
  • Laboratory Supervisors/Technicians
  • Facility Directors/Managers
  • Technical Staff who provide training and/or research supervision/assistance
  • Office Managers

Note, supervisors are also considered workers within the University. Worker responsibilities also apply.

At McMaster, Supervisor Responsibilities are explicitly defined in the University’s RMM. In addition, EOHSS has defined certain other supervisor training and documenation obligations, which can be found on EOHSS’s own website. Eng Phys has also taken the initiative to create its own Hazard Awareness course and Hazard Assessment Form. The Eng Phys program has been in place for well over a decade.

Supervisor Responsibilites

OHSA Section 27

Applies To:

  • Faculty with Laboratory Research
  • Retired Faculty with Laboratory Research
  • Facility Directors/Managers
  • Laboratory Staff wit Supervisory/Training Responsibilities

Must be Familiar With:

Supervisors have certain legal obligations under the OHSA. According to Section 27, Supervisors need to:

  • advise workers of the existence of any workplace hazards;
  • provide the worker written instructions explaining protective measures associated with workplace hazards;
  • “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”


Supervisors Must Complete the Following Documentation:

Mandatory Supervisor Training

Training Students, Employees, Visitors*, Volunteers:

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring anyone under their supervision completes the following documentation and mandatory training (all Mandatory Supervisor Training noted above except Accident Investigation).

Job Hazard Analysis

Eng Phys-Specific Hazard Assessment Form

  • To be completed when student starts there degree or summer project, and to be updated as-needed if there are any significant changes to project.

Site-Specific Mandatory Training

  • Any specialized training for equipment or activities in a faculty research lab. An SOP should already exist for any such task. Supervisors should log this training and acquire signatures.
Job Hazard Analysis

  • To be completed with supervisor (i.e. Departmental Chair).
  • Must be filed with department office and EOHSS.

Contact Information & Lab Assessment Form (for each lab facility)

  • To be completed and posted on door of all lab facilities. (template)

Standard Operating Procedures

  • Template can be downloaded.
  • Suggest storing copies of the completed SOP in both lab and your office.
  • SOPs must be completed for any procedure or process which:
  1. Could cause a critical injury.
  2. Could cause occupational illness.
  3. Could cause environmental impairment.
  4. Could cause damage to university property.

MSDS Inventory

  • Log all chemicals (name, volume, approximate date purchased, purchaser, etc.) present in lab. Keep a binder of MSDS forms for each chemical. Access to MSDS forms via computer is *apparently* also sufficient.
  • Inspections of Facilities/Work Areas (trial template)
  • This requirement was recently introduced into RMM 302: Safety Audits and Inspections.

*Note: Short term visitors may not be able to complete certain mandatory training due to their time restrictions. In this circumstance, supervisors retain ALL responsibility for visitor safety. Site-specific training is required and work should be limited.

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