Health & Safety

First published on Thursday, Jun 04, 2020

Last updated on Thursday, Apr 11, 2024

As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees and customers. It is your responsibility to look after their health & safety in the workplace.

You must understand what occupational health & safety is, and the regulations surrounding it. The last thing you need is an accident, which could lead to a legal battle or a heavy fine.

In this article, we’ll explain what occupational health & safety is, the regulations you need to stick to and, how to ensure your workplace is safe.

What is occupational health & safety?

Occupational health & safety, or commonly known as OH&S relates to any safety issues and hazards in the workplace. OH&S includes laws and standards that are formed to keep employers, employees, and customers safe.

Having quality health & safety at work will improve your company’s brand image, employee morale and confidence.

OH&S covers the following areas to protect staff from:

  • Chemical hazards.
  • Physical hazards.
  • Biological agents.
  • Any ergonomic issues, such as poor posture or frequent lifting.
  • Accidents.

Workplace health & safety is covered by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

What is the occupational health & safety act?

The Occupational Health & Safety Act in Canada includes the guidelines and legislations employers must follow to protect themselves, employees, and customers whilst on their premises.

The following are included in the OH&S act:

  • Government responsibilities: Enforcing legislations and conducting workplace inspections.
  • Worker’s rights: Employees can also refuse to work if they feel unsafe.
  • Worker’s responsibilities: Employees must work in compliance with the OH&S act and wear personal protective equipment when directed to. They must also complete health & safety courses.
  • Employer’s responsibilities: Make sure your workplace is safe. Train employees on any potential hazards, supply them with PPE where required and report critical injuries to the government department.

Who is responsible for workplace health & safety?

You are required by law to create occupational health & safety programs. These programs will include any ongoing training and practices to improve and create a positive workplace safety culture. You should also include a workplace risk assessment.

However, you may employ a manager or supervisor to oversee OH&S across your workplace.

A supervisor will advise you on any potential hazards or dangers raised by employees. Allowing you to make changes to your OH&S policy and provide training where required.

What are the Canadian occupational health & safety regulations?

Each province in Canada has their own OH&S legislation, you need to ensure your workplace is covered correctly.

Although they’re similar, they vary slightly. No matter how small a detail it may be, it could be the difference between your workplace being safe or not.

You can find the Occupational Health & Safety Act for your province below:

The Canada Safety Council also works to protect employee’s safety in the workplace. They can provide you with training courses to improve your workplace safety, or to simply offer a refresher.

You can also obtain an occupational health & safety certificate. Having a certificate isn’t a legal requirement in Canada, but will improve your knowledge surround OH&S.

How do you get an occupational health & safety certificate?

Obtaining an occupational health & safety certificate will allow you to make your workplace as safe as possible. You can also send your supervisor on a course to obtain a certificate.

These courses vary in length depending on the province and go a long way to providing a safe place for your employees.

How to prepare an occupational health and safety policy

An occupational health & safety policy will help to promote your OH&S program. You need to ensure it is regularly updated, refreshed, and reflects any special safety needs of your workplace.

Include your policy in your employee handbook and make certain any new starters read and understand it.

The following should make up your policy:

  • How to manage any dangerous substances.
  • The types of hazards in your workplace and how to work safely.
  • Any ongoing safety meetings or training.
  • Who to report a potential danger or hazard to.
  • Any PPE needed in certain areas.

Importance of health & safety in the workplace

Safety in your workplace should be your number one priority. You need to be certain your employees and customers always feel safe.

Failure to comply to the Occupational Health & Safety Act could land you with a range a punishments:

  • Ontario: A maximum $100,000 fine and/or up to 12 months imprisonment, or $1,500,000 fine for your corporation.
  • British Columbia: A monetary fine, depending on the number of violations committed.
  • Alberta: A monetary fine, with a maximum of $10,000 per day.

Get help with occupational health & safety today with BrightHR

Keeping yourself, your employees, and your customers safe is extremely important.

Having a clear health & safety policy, along with ongoing training will keep your workplace as safe as possible. Not keeping your staff safe can land you in legal trouble.

BrightHR has a range of tools that can help keep your workforce and workplace safe.

Our BrightSafe online health & safety software allows you to manage your health & safety tasks, record any accident and access quality e-learning courses.

Contact us on 18882204924 or book a demo today.

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