Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Health and Safety

We only have two employees in our company does the Occupational Health and Safety Act apply to our company?

Yes, no matter how small or large your company is the OHSA applies if you employ workers to do work for you and who receive compensation for their services. Under Part III, Section 25 of the OHSA “Duties of Employers and Other persons”. It is the responsibility of the Employer to protect the worker, by informing, and training the worker on any hazards in the workplace.


    When does our company require a Safety Representative or a Joint Health and Safety Committee?

Under Section 8 (1) of the OHSA, if you employ 6 employees, who include all workers including the owner, office staff and plant workers, then you must have a safety representative. This person must be chosen by the workforce and cannot be part of the management team.
Under Section 9 (2) of the OHSA, if your company employs 20 or more employees, which includes all employees and workers, then you must have a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) which has equal representation from the workforce and the management team. One employee from each represented group must be certified by the WSIB in Health and Safety. There must be a chair person and co chair and this position will be rotated by a schedule. During a meeting of the JHSC there must be equal representation from both sides and the topics for discussion must pertain to the health and safety of the workplace.


When does my company require a Health and Safety Policy?

If your company is in business and has employees then you should certainly have a health and safety policy. This document entails, how your company will protect the employees, and who is responsible and accountable for health and safety. It requires personal involvement of the executive management team and a commitment from the entire organization to work safely and protect the workers. This is the first stage to a health and safety program. This can be found in Section 25 (j) of the OHSA where an explanation of a written health and safety policy is addressed.


What is a Critical Injury and when do we have to notify the Ministry of Labour that such an injury has occurred?

A Critical Injury is defined in Ontario Regulation 834 which states a critical injury is an injury that:

  1. Places life in danger
  2. Produces unconsciousness
  3. Results in a substantial loss of blood
  4. Involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe
  5. Involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe
  6. Consists of burns to a major portion of the body ; or
  7. Causes the loss of sight in an eye

If the injury fits these criteria the Ministry of Labour (MOL) must be notified immediately. In the case of a fatality in the workplace, the scene must be secured, untouched by anyone and no entry permitted to the accident scene until the MOL inspection team arrives on site.


When our company installs new or modifies existing equipment, is there any safety inspections that are required before the equipment is put into service?

Yes, any equipment that has been modified, or newly installed must undergo a Pre Start up Health and Safety Inspection to ensure that the equipment will function safely without causing harm to any worker. This can be found in the Ontario Regulation 851 for Industrial Establishments under Section 7. In addition all installation and building codes must be complied to ensure proper installation. Some of the Ontario codes include, The Ontario Building Code, The Ontario Fire Code, the Ontario Electrical code and the Ontario Gas Code. Best check with your supplier or installer to achieve proper inspections for the installation or modification of equipment and the pre start up health and safety inspection requirements.


How often do we need to inspect the workplace for health and safety hazards?

 Section 9 (26) of the OHSA states , unless otherwise required by the regulation or by an order by an inspector, a member designated under subsection (23) shall insect the physical condition of the workplace at least once a month.
Of course there is also other required inspections which are covered in the Ontario Fire Code which must be completed as well. Remember the Occupational Health and Safety Act states the minimum requirements for compliance; we encourage our customers to go beyond and above the minimum requirements of the OHSA to ensure health and safety of their workers in the workplace. We endorse a health and safety program which allows for continual improvement, responsibility and accountability. Hazards in the workplace are constantly changing and your health and safety program and inspection process should be adjusted accordingly.


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Training

 When is it necessary to provide training to workers?

Section 25 (2), (a) of the OHSA states that an employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.
Further; Section 42(1) Instruction  and Training under the OHSA states , In addition to providing information and instruction to a worker as required by clause 25 (2),(a), an employer shall ensure that a worker exposed or likely to be exposed to a hazardous material or to a hazardous physical agent receives, and that the worker participates in, such instruction and training as may be prescribed.
What this means is; if there is an indentified occupational health and safety hazard in the workplace then the employer is responsible to ensure that the worker has received the proper instructions on how to work with the indentified hazard to remain safe and protected from injury or illness.

How do I know what types of occupational health and safety exist in my workplace?

Training programs are usually the result of hazard recognition and risk assessments of the workplace. The employer is responsible to conduct a proper hazard risk assessment if a occupational health and safety hazard has been identified. Most employers use professional health and safety risk assessment services because of their experience in identifying potential occupational health and safety hazards and the type of action require to protect the worker from an occupational workplace related injury and, or illness. After a proper hazard assessment has been completed the worker training program can be tailored in accordance to the results of the hazard assessment. It is always best to identify the occupational health and safety hazard first and then through evaluation process determine the appropriate training to keep the workers safe.

Do all occupational hazards identified require a training program?

Yes, once an occupational hazard has been identified and if the hazard cannot be eliminated by engineering or substitution controls then the employer must apply the proper controls to keep the worker and co- workers safe. If a employer has exhausted all engineering controls and must protect the worker by using personal protective equipment (PPE) then the employer is responsible to train that worker in the proper care and maintenance of any PPE require to keep the worker safe. In addition the employer must implement an administrative program that will foster the development of the proper policies and safe operating procedures to keep the worker safe while the indentified occupational health and safety hazard exists and represents a potential threat to the worker or co- workers safety and well being.

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