Workplace Health and Safety: Your Responsibility, as the Employer
As an employer in Ontario, it is a legal requirement to comply with occupational health and safety laws. Specifically, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) establishes the obligations of employers when it comes to workplace health and safety and this is enforced by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. Further to this, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) administers claims for benefits resulting from injuries in the workplace. Accordingly, under the OHSA, your responsibilities as an employer include:
- Complying with all of the laws and regulations made under Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
- Creating and implementing an occupational health and safety program and policy
- Taking all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of your employees
- Providing information and instructions to employees to ensure their health and safety in the workplace
7 Workplace Health and Safety Tips for Small Business Owners in Ontario
- Prepare a Health and Safety Checklist and Workplace Safety Procedures. These customizable lists will provide clear instructions to employees to ensure their safety and establish what you expect from them.
- Provide training. You must provide your workers with general health and safety awareness training. For this reason, you must educate your employees so they are compliant with the Act.
- Encourage open communication. All employees in a workplace should feel comfortable bringing any and all health and safety concerns to their superiors or management.
- Investigate incidents. If an employee comes forward with a health and safety concern, always take it seriously. Look into the causes of accidents or near misses, and implement changes if necessary. In addition, if a worker raises a complaint of workplace harassment, or you become aware of such an incident, then it is an OHSA requirement to conduct a full investigation into the incident.
- Conduct an annual review. The OHSA requires employers, at a minimum, to conduct annual workplace safety risk assessments. Furthermore, it is a best practice to regularly inspect all workplace equipment and tools to ensure they are well maintained and safe to use. This can be done by using a health and safety checklist.
- Regularly ask for feedback. Conduct regular meetings with employees regarding health and safety matters – after all, your employees will have the best understanding of the safety concerns within the work environment and how to improve safety in the workplace. In most workplaces, the OHSA requires you to have either a worker health and safety representative or a joint health and safety committee in place.
- Maintain records. To identify any trends in unsafe procedures, keep records of all workplace accidents, injuries, and occupational illnesses. This is also a minimum requirement of the Act.
Peninsula Can Help You With Workplace Health and Safety
Not sure where to begin? At Peninsula, we’re experts who specialize in helping small businesses ensure they are compliant under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA). Call us anytime – 1 (833) 247-3652. We offer around-the-clock health and safety advice because we know that even the smallest tasks can become big safety hazards.