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Appendix A: How to prepare an occupational health and safety policy
A policy statement by the employer is an effective way to communicate the organization's commitment to worker health and safety. Senior management attitudes, relationships between employers and workers, community interests and technology all combine to play a part in determining how health and safety are viewed and addressed in the workplace.
Workplaces with exceptional health and safety records have established a clear line of responsibility for correcting health and safety concerns. This action enhances working relationships between employers and workers.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, an employer must prepare and review at least annually a written occupational health and safety policy, and must develop and maintain a program to implement that policy [clause 25(2)(j)].
A clear, concise policy statement should reflect management's commitment, support and attitude to the health and safety program for the protection of workers. This statement should be signed by the employer and the highest level of management at the workplace, thus indicating employer and senior management commitment.
An example of a health and safety policy follows:
Health and safety policy
The employer and senior management of [insert name of business] are vitally interested in the health and safety of its workers. Protection of workers from injury or occupational disease is a major continuing objective.
[insert name of business] will make every effort to provide a safe, healthy work environment. All employers, supervisors and workers must be dedicated to the continuing objective of reducing risk of injury.
[insert name of business], as employer, is ultimately responsible for worker health and safety. As president [or owner/operator, chairperson, chief executive officer, etc.] of [insert name of business], I give you my personal commitment that I will comply with my duties under the Act, such as taking every reasonable precaution for the protection of workers in the workplace.
Supervisors will be held accountable for the health and safety of workers under their supervision. Supervisors are subject to various duties in the workplace, including the duty to ensure that machinery and equipment are safe and that workers work in compliance with established safe work practices and procedures.
Every worker must protect their own health and safety by working in compliance with the law and with safe work practices and procedures established by the employer. Workers will receive information, training and competent supervision in their specific work tasks to protect their health and safety.
It is in the best interest of all parties to consider health and safety in every activity. Commitment to health and safety must form an integral part of this organization, from the president to the workers.
Note: A workplace violence policy and a workplace harassment policy are required of all workplaces covered by Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act. Sample policies are available in the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development's Understand the law on workplace violence and harassment, available from ServiceOntario publications and on the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development internet website.
In addition to preparing a health and safety policy like the one above, the employer must also have a program in place to implement that policy. This program will vary, depending upon the hazards encountered in a particular workplace. Program elements may include all or some of the following:
- Worker training (e.g., new workers, WHMIS, new job procedures)
- Workplace inspections and hazard analysis
- Analysis of the accidents and illnesses occurring at the workplace
- A health and safety budget
- A formal means of communication to address promptly the concerns of workers
- Confined space entry procedure
- Lock out procedure
- Machine guarding
- Material handling practices and procedures
- Maintenance and repairs
- Protective equipment
- Emergency procedures
- First aid and rescue procedures
- Electrical safety
- Fire prevention
- Engineering controls (e.g., ventilation)
Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of program elements.
Appendix B: Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development occupational health and safety contact information and resources
Occupational health and safety
If there is an emergency occurring in your workplace, call 911 immediately.
To report critical injuries, fatalities, work refusals, health and safety complaints, or suspected unsafe work practices:
- Contact the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Health & Safety Contact Centre any time at 1-877-202-0008 (toll-free).
Note that general inquiries about workplace health and safety are responded to from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday.
Health and safety resources
- Health & Safety Ontario
- Infrastructure Health & Safety Association
- Public Service Health & Safety Association
- Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
- Workplace Safety North
- Workers Health & Safety Centre
- Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers
Central Region – West and East
Central Region West includes York, Peel, Dufferin and Simcoe
Central Region East includes Toronto and Durham
Western Region includes the following counties: Brant, Bruce, Elgin, Essex, Grey, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Hamilton-Wentworth, Huron, Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, Niagara, Oxford, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington
Northern Region includes the following counties: Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timiskaming
Eastern Region includes the following counties: Frontenac, Haliburton, Hastings, Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, Lennox & Addington, Muskoka, Northumberland, Ottawa-Carleton, Peterborough, Prescott & Russell, Prince Edward, Renfrew, Stormont Dundas & Glengarry and Victoria
All calls relating to employment standards (i.e., hours or work, overtime, public holidays, vacation, leaves of absence, termination, etc.) should be directed to:
- Employment Standards Information Centre
- GTA: 416-326-7160
- Canada-wide: 1-800-531-5551
- TTY: 1-866-567-8893
Appendix C: Information resources about reprisals
Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development
The Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development sets, communicates and enforces workplace standards related to occupational health and safety, employment rights and responsibilities, and labour relations. When workers allege that their employer has penalized them for exercising their rights and responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), inspectors
- investigate the workers' occupational health and safety concerns, and
- if warranted, act to address the health and safety concerns.
If a worker has been fired, inspectors may — with the worker's consent — refer the worker's description of the alleged reprisal to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) and provide copies of the referral to the employer, the trade union (if any), and to any other organization affected by the alleged reprisal.
Health & Safety Contact Centre
The Ontario Labour Relations Board
The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal that mediates and adjudicates employment and labour relations matters under Ontario statutes. Workers who believe their employer has penalized them because they have exercised their rights and responsibilities under the OHSA can file a complaint with the OLRB. There is no fee for this. Unions may file a grievance on behalf of members under the collective agreement or help member workers complain directly to the OLRB.
- 416-326-7500 or 1-877-339-3335 (toll-free)
Office of the Worker Adviser
The Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA) is an independent agency of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. The OWA provides free advice and assistance to non-union workers who have experienced reprisal under the OHSA. OWA staff can file applications to the OLRB and provide representation to workers at mediations and hearings.
- 416-212-5335 or 1-855-659-7744 (toll-free)
Toronto Workers' Health & Safety Legal Clinic
The Toronto Workers' Health & Safety Legal Clinic provides free information, legal advice and representation to low-income workers who face health and safety problems at work, including those who have been penalized for raising health and safety concerns.
Office of the Employer Adviser
The Office of the Employer Adviser (OEA) is an independent agency of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. The OEA provides free education, advice and representation to employers with fewer than 50 employees in responding to allegations of reprisal brought to the OLRB.
- 416-327-0020 or 1-800-387-0774 (toll-free)
Law Society of Upper Canada
The Law Society of Upper Canada has several services for finding professional legal help. The society can refer callers to a lawyer who may provide a free initial consultation.
- 416-947-3330 or 1-800-668-7380 (toll-free)