Health and Safety Compliance 101
Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires that employers having more than 5 regularly-employed workers prepare and review at least annually a written occupational health and safety policy and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy.
Q: What Is a Health and Safety Policy?
A: The Health and Safety Policy is a one-page statement of commitment to preventing occupational illness and injury in the workplace.
Q: What is a Health and Safety Program?
A: A Health and Safety Program is written documentation that provides direction to company employees as to the significant hazards that exist in their workplace and ways to control the significant hazards.
Q: What is Due Diligence?
A: Employers and Supervisors are required to take “every precaution in the circumstances for the protection of a worker”; taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances is often described as being “duly diligent”. It will be the decision of a judge as to whether a company has taken every precaution reasonable, or has been duly diligent.
Q: What are Some Important Steps to Establish Due Diligence?
A: There is no widely-acknowledged and definitive list of steps that should be taken to establish due diligence, but the following steps are seen as very important:
- Knowledge of health and safety legal obligations;
- Knowledge of significant workplace hazards;
- Controls to address significant workplace hazards;
- Written health and safety policies and procedures;
- Training for employees and managers;
- Regular health and safety monitoring of the workplace;
- Regular communication to employees;
- Enforcement with discipline for health and safety non-compliance.