In the midst of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, there is a lot of coverage surrounding the unsafe and unclean working conditions for the athletes. Many of the world’s top athletes have pulled out of attending due to the threat of Zika, some have refused to stay in the designated athletes’ village, and others are cautious of being prime targets for crime.

No matter how you look at it, the current landscape and working conditions for the Olympic athletes are far from ideal, which brings us to the question; when is enough, enough?

While Canadians are in much better hands when it comes to health and safety in the workplace, issues still arise from time to time. Unsafe working conditions can look very different depending on the industry you work in and the type of job you are performing but knowing your rights and when to speak up when you have concerns is very important. Here are some things to consider when looking at your working conditions. If any of these are not to your liking, it might be time to say “enough is enough”.

Squeaky clean

No one wants to work in a dirty environment. Of course, there are jobs like landscaping or construction where dirt is an actual part of the environment but for the majority, a clean working environment is important. Look out for things like loose wires, mold or, dare we say it, bodily fluids. Having a clean environment as the Australian Olympic team stated in their criticisms of the athletes’ village in RIO, is important to the safety and wellbeing of workers.

Engineer Teaching Apprentices To Use Computerized Lathe

Knowing the mechanics 

Working with heavy equipment can also be extremely dangerous if the proper safety precautions are not taken. Having regular checks on the machinery you are using, wearing the proper gear, and being properly trained on how to use the equipment are all integral to making sure a task gets done properly and safely. Talk to your manager immediately if you have any concerns before using the machinery.

The weather outside is frightful 

For employees working outside weather can greatly impact your safety. Having to perform a task in the extreme cold can put you in danger of frostbite or hypothermia, and working in extreme heat can expose you to heat stroke. Being aware of the temperatures that classify as extreme heat or cold is the best way to protect yourself when working outside.


Bullying and harassment issues are unfortunately still experienced in the workplace. Anything as simple as an offside joke or comment can be deemed as harassment. If you feel uncomfortable in any way at work address the individual and bring it to their attention. It could be a simple misunderstanding and they may not realize they caused offense. If that still doesn’t work, make sure you keep a record of the incidences and bring them to your manager.

Up, up and away

Whether you drive around your home city or trek to international borders for your job, safety while traveling is the responsibility of the company you work for. Make sure the car you are driving is road worthy if it’s not your own. If you are traveling internationally, make sure you first and foremost check the Canadian travel advisory for the country you will be visiting. If there is an advisory for that particular country speak with your manager about the safety measures your company will be taking during your trip. You could always follow in Rory McIlroy’s footsteps and decide not to embark on the trip due to unsafe working conditions.

Anytime you feel unsafe for whatever reason in your working environment make sure you first and foremost speak with your manager. If that doesn’t work there are many other available resources to help you, make sure you know your rights.