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:

  1. Knowledge of health and safety legal obligations;
  2. Knowledge of significant workplace hazards;
  3. Controls to address significant workplace hazards;
  4. Written health and safety policies and procedures;
  5. Training for employees and managers;
  6. Regular health and safety monitoring of the workplace;
  7. Regular communication to employees;
  8. Enforcement with discipline for health and safety non-compliance.