Occupational Health and Safety should be a priority for all organizations, providing a safe workplace for the organizations employees. No matter what type of work the Agency performs there are legislative requirements, some carrying significant penalties for non-compliance, which all employer organizations must be aware of and comply with.

Health and safety in the workplace is primarily based on the Provisions of the Internal Responsibility System (IRS), which means:

  • Workplace parties, employer and workers work together to promote health and safety in the workplace
  • Each party has defined duties and roles under the Act
  • Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) (or Health and Safety Representatives) and their activities are a way of developing an effective IRS

 

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE ACT (OHSA)

Worker Rights

Workers have the right to be part of the process of identifying and resolving workplace health and safety concerns. This right is expressed through worker membership on Joint Health and Safety Committees, or through worker Health and Safety Representatives.

 

Workers have the right to know about any potential hazards to which they may be exposed. This means the right to be trained and to have information on machinery, equipment, working conditions, processes and hazardous substances.

 

Workers have the right to refuse work that they believe is dangerous to either their own health and safety or that of another worker. They may also refuse work if they believe they are endangered by workplace violence.

 

In certain circumstances, members of a Joint Health and Safety Committee who are “certified” have the right to stop work that is dangerous to any worker.

 

Employer Responsibilities (s.25)

Ensure compliance with OHSA and Regulations.

  1. Prepare and post a written health and safety policy and establish a health and safety program to implement it.
  2. Provide and maintain protective equipment required for safe performance of a job. Ensure that they are used properly.
  3. Provide adequate health and safety training to all employees.
  4. Provide adequate resources for efficient functioning of health and safety committee.
  5. Post a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  6. Appoint a competent person as a supervisor.
  7. Take every precaution reasonable for the protection of workers.

Supervisor Responsibilities (s.27)

  1. Ensure workers comply with OHSA and Regulations.
  2. Ensure workers use proper safety equipment, personal protective equipment, personal protective devices and clothing.
  3. Advise workers of any health or safety hazards.
  4. Provide written instruction for working safely.
  5. Take every precaution reasonable for the protection of workers.

Worker Responsibilities (s.28)

  1. Work in compliance with OHS laws and Regulations and participate in keeping their workplace healthy and safe.
  2. Use or wear safety equipment and protective devices required by employer.
  3. Report all hazards to their supervisor.
  4. Report known violation of OHS Laws and Regulations.
  5. Not remove or make ineffective any protective devices required by employer or by Regulations.
  6. Not use or operate any equipment or work in a way that may endanger another worker.
  7. Not engage in prank, rough or boisterous conduct that may endanger other workers.

HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVE vs. JOINT HEALTH & SAFETY COMMITTEE
The Occupational Health and Safety Act in Ontario requires the following:

  • Health & Safety Representative (HSR)
    Required for any workplace where the number of workers regularly exceeds five (5) and at least one HSR must be selected from among the workers at the workplace that do not exercise managerial functions.
    (H&S Representative(s) must be properly trained to carry-out their function and time off work to exercise duties under the Act shall be considered work time)

OR

  • Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC)
    A Joint Health & Safety Committee is required in most workplaces where there are twenty (20) or more workers.

The JHSC’s activities include:

  • Make recommendations about the safety of the workplace
  • Obtain information from employer
  • Consult about testing in the workplace
  • Conduct workplace inspections

 Occupational Health & Safety Act (OSHA) – OHSA is Ontario’s cornerstone legislation for workplace health and safety. The main purpose of the Act is to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job. It sets out duties for all workplace parties and rights for workers. It establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards and provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act can be found at: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90o01_e.htm
For more information, please visit: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/index.php
Please refer to the Legislation section of the website for more information.