905-493-7436 | 1-833-226-7436 info@canaphem.ca

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHSA) is arguably one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting businesses in Ontario and Canada.  Compliance with OHSA reduces your organizations risk while protecting your people from occupational injuries and illnesses.  Although the costs associated with compliance are high the economic burden imposed on businesses for non-compliance are often catastrophic.

Lost time, reduced productivity, reduced morale, fines and sanctions imposed by The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and the Ministry of Labour (MOL) all lead to reduced profitability.  It makes sense to be proactive and prevent occupational injuries and illness through the development of a robust health and safety policy, adhering to the OHSA and making safety a priority.  This guide has been designed to help you navigate through the legislation by summarizing the key pieces that affect all businesses.

A key staple of the OHSA is visibility.  But what does visibility mean?

Visibility is the employees right to know their rights and responsibilities under OSHA.  To aid you in meeting the visibility requirements there are several posters and documents that you are required to put up in the workplace.

Health and Safety Policy:
Organization covered by the OHSA with 6 or more employees are required to develop, implement and post a Health and Safety Policy.  The policy must outline the organizations commitment to safety and outline the internal responsibility system in place.  Remember that MOL Inspectors can come into your work and request to see this plan.

First Aid:
First Aid is covered by Regulation 1101 of WSIB and applies to all organizations covered by the OHSA irrelevant of their status with WSIB.  There is a legal obligation to have sufficient numbers of people trained and certified in First Aid and to have first aid kits and supplies available in an emergency.  We recommend training between 10% and 20% of your workplace to ensure compliance.

Health and Safety Awareness Training:
As of July 1st, 2014, it is mandatory that all staff be trained on Health & Safety. It is also the employer’s responsibility to keep the certificates of completion of this training in the employee’s file, even up to 6 months after they part with the company.

Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC):
The JHSC is composed of worker and employer who have a commitment to improving health and safety within the workplace. Together they identify workplace hazards and develop recommendations for the employer to address them.  Here is the skinny on JHSC’s,

  • 1-5 employees: you do not need a JHSC
  • 5-20 employees: ensure that workers select a health and safety representative but there is no requirement for a JHSC
  • If you have more than 20 employees: you are required to have a JHSC

There is a caveat to the guidelines listed above.  Organizations that deal designated substances are required to have a JHSC even if they have less than 20 employees.

Violence & Harassment Policy:
Bill 168 requires all businesses to develop, implement and post a Violence and Harassment policy in the workplace. Along with the creation of this policy, you will also be required to offer training to your employees on violence and harassment in the workplace.  As of September of 2016 Bill 132 was implemented increasing the responsibilities and requirements of businesses in Ontario with respect to Harassment.  Here are some of the responsibilities covered in Bill 132 and 168,

  • Have a written policy that includes:
    • Measures for reporting the incident to a person other than a direct supervisor if the supervisor is the alleged harasser;
    • Details of how complaints of workplace harassment will be handled;
    • Statement that no details from a complaint or investigation will be disclosed unless necessary for the investigation, corrective action or when required by law;
    • Details on how the alleged victim and harasser will be informed of the results from the investigation along with any corrective action that will be implemented.
  • The alleged victim and harasser are informed in writing of the investigation results and any corrective action;
  • The employer’s workplace harassment program must be revised every year;
  • The employees received adequate training about the employer’s workplace harassment policy and program.

Failure to comply with Bill 132 or 168 my result in serious penalties for individuals that include fines of up to $25,000 or up to 12 months of imprisonment, or both!

Blog written by Corette Miller from new initiatives hr consulting