The "Safety and Compliance" Seminar – Part 2
In Part 2 of our five-part series (which we'll publish over the next two months), you"ll learn safety policies and procedures
By Robert Koci
Over the next few weeks you’ll learn the top five ways to be safe and compliant in your workplace.
Part 2: Formalize Safety Policies and Procedures
By Brynna Leslie
Depending on the size of your company, the Canadian Labour Code requires you to have a formal set of health and safety policies and procedures and an Internal Responsibility System (IRS) in place. Companies with 5-19 employees are required to appoint an in-house safety officer, who is responsible for maintaining health and safety policies and records, responding to complaints, monitoring and managing safety issues and participating in investigations. Companies with 20 or more employees must establish a health and safety committee to take on these responsibilities.
There are variances among provinces on what, precisely, goes into these policies.
In Nova Scotia, for example, the law doesn’t stipulate everything that goes into the policy, but it does insist that companies with at least five employees have a document that demonstrates the employer’s commitment to occupational health and safety; a commitment to cooperation with employees to pursuing health and safety; and that enunciates the responsibility of the employer, supervisors and employees in meeting those commitments.
“It doesn’t have to be created from scratch,” says Jim Leblanc (director of Occupational Health and Safety for Labour, in Nova Scotia). “There are a lot of user-friendly guidelines and draft policies on our website.”
Don’t make the mistake of thinking the policies are a one-off project. Most provinces have a requirement that policies be updated annually at a minimum. Ontario has an additional requirement that policies be re-examined whenever your business changes.
“Anytime there’s a change to operating circumstances, the policy must be revisited,” explains Mike Chappell (head of Construction Health and Safety at Ontario’s Ministry of Labour). “If you created the policy in your first year out when you just had one or two jobs where you were on site and you now find yourself doing multiple jobs where you are unavailable to supervise, you need to ensure the policy is altered to reflect that change in operations.”
Next week… Part 3: Create a Safe Job Site
Brynna Leslie is a freelance writer based in Ottawa and a regular contributor to Canadian Contractor.