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Nova Scotia Workplace Health and Safety Protocols

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The Lions Library | Nova Scotia Workplace Health and Safety Protocols

For this month’s Lions Library, let’s talk about workplace health and safety protocols in Nova Scotia! The goal of Lions Library is to provide people with short-form, easy to understand, explanations of workplace health and safety topics as well as act as a database for where to learn more. In today’s blog, we’ll be sharing information on Nova Scotia’s provincial workplace health and safety programs and where to find the best information to keep yourself and your employee’s safe working within the province of NS.

Since The Hercules Group of Companies head office is in Nova Scotia, we thought this would be a good place to start, but don’t worry – we will be posting a new Lions Library focusing on all of the Canadian provinces! Tune in to our blog, or social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Linkedin) so you’ll be sure to catch when we publish your province’s!

What are workplace health and safety guidelines?

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS) states, “A health and safety program is a definite plan of action designed to prevent accidents and occupational diseases.”

In most Canadian jurisdictions, some sort of a health and safety program is required under the occupational health and safety legislation. Because every organization is different, a specific health and safety program must be developed for each organization and cannot necessarily be expected to meet the needs of another.

Workplace Health and Safety in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia workplace health and safety is regulated by the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations. The Department of Labour and Advanced Education are also a key part of Nova Scotia’s workplace health and safety efforts. Their staff promote, coordinate, administer, and enforce occupational health and safety across the province.

For Employees

As a worker in Nova Scotia, you have three basic rights related to health and safety.

  • The right to know and to be trained in safe work practices in all aspects of your job.
  • The right to participate in health and safety matters either directly or through a worksite health and safety committee or representative.
  • The right to refuse work if you have reasonable cause to believe that the work process, equipment or environment poses an undue risk of injury to you or another person

Here are some resources that will help you educate yourself around NS OH&S:

Free E-Learn Courses

Novia Scotian residents can take advantage of 3 free E-Learning courses from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) per year. The courses are sponsored by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Safety Branch, Occupational Health and Safety Division making them an amazing FREE safety resource. You can register for these courses by visiting: CCOHS Nova Scotia OHS e-training site.

For Employers

Every workplace and employer must provide access to the following things in order to be compliment under the OH&S Act :

  • Posted Nova Scotia OH&S Act
  • Posted Nova Scotia OH&S contact information sheet
  • A posted Emergency Communication procedure
  • Copy of the WHMIS/GHS regulations
  • A Trained first aid provider
  • A first aid kit appropriate to the size and type of business you have
  • A posted copy of your workplace violence prevention statement

In addition to the above list, you may have further requirements based on the number of employees you have.

In order to successfully manage the workplace health and safety guidelines in your workplace, as an employer, you are obligated to the following:

  • Ensure the health and safety of the people at or near your workplace
  • Provide and maintain equipment, machines, and materials that are properly equipped with safety devices
  • Provide information, instruction, training, supervision, and facilities to keep your workers safe
  • Ensure that all workers are told about any health or safety hazards at your workplace
  • Ensure that all workers know when and how to properly use all devices, equipment, and clothing required for their protection
  • Conduct your business so that workers are not exposed to health or safety hazards
  • Work with your health and safety representative, if you have 5 or more workers
  • Cooperate with anyone performing a duty or exercising a power under occupational health and safety legislation
  • Comply with the Occupational Health and safety legislation that applies to your workplace, and make sure that your workers also comply
  • Establish an occupational health and safety policy, if you have 5 or more workers

As an employer, it is also your responsibility that all employees know and understand their three most basic rights working in NS: The right to refuse unsafe work, the right to know of any hazards in the workplace, and the right to participate in identifying and resolving safety issues.

In Nova Scotia, failure to comply with the OH&S Act can be charged as an offence. Business owners found liable could be subjected to a fine up to $250,000, two years in prison or both.

The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act

If you are an employer, it is your responsibility to know your obligations under the NS OH&S Act that affect your workplace. It is recommended that all employers and employees familiarize themselves with the OH&S Act in order to know your responsibilities and rights within the workplace.

You can contact the OHS Division at 1-800-952-2687 if you have questions about which regulations apply to your workplace, but the following regulations apply to most workplaces in Nova Scotia and are a great place to start when educating yourself:

  • First Aid Regulations
  • Occupational Safety General Regulations
  • Violence in the Workplace Regulations
  • WHMIS Regulations
  • Administrative Penalties Regulations
  • Workplace Health and Safety Regulations including Part 21: Fall Protection and Part 23: Scaffolding

You can find the act here, or you may request a paper copy of the OH&S Act from the OHS Division by contacting them at:

Tel: 902-424-5400 or toll-free within Nova Scotia at 1-800-952-2687
Email: [email protected]
For federally-regulated workplaces contact Labour Canada at: 1-800-641-4049.

The best way to do something safely is to do it correctly, and that comes with proper training and education! Hercules SLR recognizes that and through the Hercules Training Academy, offers an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses.

Brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements.

Our courses can be customized to fit your workplace’s specific needs. We are always willing to design a course (or multiple courses) specifically for you!

If you’re interested in building a customized training program, please get in touch. One of our training representatives would be happy to help you get started.