Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

The Act relies on an internal responsibility system with employers, managers/supervisors and staff with designated responsibilities for health and safety.

Employers’ responsibilities include:

  • Providing a safe work environment and informing supervisors and workers of possible work hazards.
  • Hiring competent supervisors.
  • Ensuring safety equipment is provided and properly maintained.
  • Posting the Act in the workplace and preparing and maintaining a written health and safety policy and program that is reviewed annually.
  • Reporting health and safety incidents to the required authorities

Supervisors’ responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring workers comply with the Act and regulations.
  • Ensuring workers use or wear safety equipment, devices or clothing.
  • Advising workers of possible hazards.
  • Providing written and/or verbal instruction on health and safety practices, policies and procedures.
  • Taking every precaution to ensure the protection of workers.

Workers’ (Employees and Volunteers) responsibilities include:

  • Working in compliance with the Act and its regulations
  • Properly using/wearing equipment, and protective devices or clothing and not removing or making ineffective any device required by the employer
  • Reporting to the employer any known missing or defective equipment or protective devices that could lead to dangerous conditions
  • Reporting any contraventions of the act or regulations to the employer

Workers have the following four rights under the Act:

  • The right to participate in health and safety training, bringing health and safety matters to the attention of their supervisor or employer, representation by the JHSC or a Health and Safety Representative.
  • The right to know about workplace hazards, how to safely do their job and/or use equipment.
  • The right to refuse work if they have reason to believe that one or more of the following is true:
    • Any machine, equipment or tool that they are using or are told to use is likely to endanger them, or another worker’s safety.
    • The physical condition of the workplace contravenes the Act or regulations and is likely to endanger a worker.
    • Any machine, equipment or tool that is being used, or the physical condition of the workplace, contravenes the Act or regulations and is likely to endanger him or herself or another worker.
  • The right to stop work by certified members of the Joint Health and Safety Committee only.