The Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) aims to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job. It sets out duties for all workplace parties and rights for workers. It establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards and provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily.
Every officer and director of a corporation must take all reasonable care to ensure that the corporation complies with the Act and regulations as well as with any orders and requirements of Ministry of Labour inspectors, Directors and the Minister [section 32].
The goals and objectives stems from the premise of Recognize, Assess, Control and Evaluate.
Recognize the hazard
You need to understand the hazard in your particular workplace and know how to effectively control them before work can commence.
Assess the hazard
Explicit or merely suspected, ask yourself these three questions:
Likelihood — What is the likelihood that a particular hazard will actually cause harm, injury or result in damage?
Frequency — What is the likelihood that an event could occur or what can reasonably be expected to occur?
Severity — What is the degree of human or financial loss caused by harm, injury or damage?
Control the hazard
Understanding the hazard in a particular workplace is essential before developing a plan to effectively controlling them, in advance of work starting. Look for ways to get rid of a hazard or to make the job safer. A simple guide in developing a proven plan, when you are unable to remove a hazard is to follow these three methods to controls hazards, at the source, along the path, at the worker (preventing a worker from coming in contact with a hazard such as separating the hazard from the worker).
Evaluate the hazard
The best method in evaluating the hazard is by looking for ways to get rid of the hazard or to make the job safer. Watching a worker perform their jobs, and reviewing workers comments help in understanding ways to evaluate if the existing process is truly safe.
The cornerstone of the OHSA, and a vital aspect to the success of this legislation working effectively, is the workplace Internal Responsibility Systems (IRS).
The IRS means that everyone in the workplace has a role to play in keeping workplaces safe and healthy. Workers in the workplace who see a health and safety problem such as a hazard or contravention of the OHSA in the workplace have a statutory duty to report the situation.
The IRS helps support a safe and healthy workplace. In addition to the workplace parties' compliance with their legal duties, the IRS is further supported by well-defined health and safety policies and programs, including the design, control, monitoring and supervision of the work being performed.
The OHSA and Regulations are the minimum standard that should be in place to prevent workplace injury or illness. Breaking these rules can endanger the worker resulting in injury, illness or even death.
Beyond the possibility of tickets, fines, penalties and prison, workplace safety should be your moral obligation to ensuring a safe work environment, in furthering social responsibility and the reputation of the corporation.