As an employer, you’re legally required to provide a safe working atmosphere for your workers. Each province and territory has its own occupational health and safety act spelling out guidelines to protect your employees and yourself.
Most acts say employers must take “reasonable” steps to ensure safety. While “reasonable” might sound vague, failing to satisfy any of these vital steps could compromise employee safety and leave you potentially liable.
Are posters posted?
Occupational health and safety acts require certain documentation be readily available, usually conspicuous physical posters or signs.
At the very least, this will include a copy of that province or territory’s act and OHS regulations. Other common examples include contact information for first aid providers and signage indicating where first aid kits are found. Other required posters and signage can depend on the type of workplace and the number of employees.
Is training taking place?
Aside from just knowing how to do their job, employees must receive the necessary training to perform it safely. This may involve official training courses like Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System or more general information on updates on possible workplace hazards.
Who’s your health and safety representative?
As part of your role to ensure employee safety, you may need to appoint a health and safety representative or even a larger joint health and safety committee, composed of both worker and employer representatives. Their role includes participating in workplace inspections, making recommendations to improve safety and identifying workplace hazards.
Are inspections ongoing?
The Canada Labour Code mandates monthly inspections of your workplace to monitor workplace safety and stave off potential problems. Accompanied by your health and safety representative or committee, inspections help you identify potential hazards and unsafe work practices, ensure machinery is operating properly and to communicate with staff.
Are policies in place?
Employers are required to draft and implement policies for health and safety as well as violence and harassment prevention. The Ministry of Labour provides a guide on developing those policies.
Employer and Employee duties
Alberta: Employer’s Guide to Occupational Health and Safety