What is the Occupational Health and Safety Act?
The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sets out the rights and duties of employers and employees in the workplace, as well as the procedures for dealing with safety risks in the workplace. The purpose of the Act is to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job. The rules and regulations contained in the OHSA are mandatory legal requirements that all employers must follow.
When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, the OHSA requires that every employer:
- Inform, instruct, and train its employees regarding health and safety in the workplace;
- Have a system in place for ensuring the safety of its workers;
- Create a program and policy that sets out how it will monitor health and safety, workplace harassment and workplace violence in the workplace;
- Maintain a program and policy for reporting workplace injuries and illnesses to the Ontario Ministry of Labour;
- Have a program in place governing the handling of hazardous substances and chemicals; and
- Regularly assess and review all of its health and safety programs and policies.
How does the Occupational Health and Safety Act apply to your business?
The Occupational Health and Safety Act applies to almost all businesses in Ontario, no matter how small. With this in mind, as a business owner, you need to be very familiar with the provisions of the OHSA, and in particular, the laws regarding how an employer must monitor and manage workplace hazards. It is also critical that all employers understand the penalties prescribed by the OHSA. In the event that an employer fails to maintain a general health and safety program or fails to properly respond to a health and safety incident, you must be aware of the consequences – that being, the levying of fines and even imprisonment.
Employers who contravene the Occupational Health and Safety Act can be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,500,000. Further. individuals who contravene the OHSA can be fined up to $100,000 and potentially be imprisoned for up to 12 months. Therefore, employers should not gamble when it comes to their health and safety best practices.
Make Sure Your Business is Compliant
While it can be difficult to understand the regulations outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Employer Line has you covered. Our team of HR consultants can help to protect you, your employees, and your business when it comes to health and safety support for your small business. Give our free employer advice line a call today – 1(833) 247-3650.