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 his or her 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.

Signed: [name]

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:

  1. Worker training (e.g., new workers, WHMIS, new job procedures)
  2. Workplace inspections and hazard analysis
  3. Analysis of the accidents and illnesses occurring at the workplace
  4. A health and safety budget
  5. A formal means of communication to address promptly the concerns of workers
  6. Confined space entry procedure
  7. Lock out procedure
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Material handling practices and procedures
  10. Maintenance and repairs
  11. Housekeeping
  12. Protective equipment
  13. Emergency procedures
  14. First aid and rescue procedures
  15. Electrical safety
  16. Fire prevention
  17. 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:

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

Central Region – West and East

Central Region West includes York, Peel, Dufferin and Simcoe

Central Region East includes Toronto and Durham

Western Region

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

Northern Region includes the following counties: Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timiskaming

Eastern Region

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

Employment standards

All calls relating to employment standards (i.e., hours or work, overtime, public holidays, vacation, leaves of absence, termination, etc.) should be directed to:

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
1-877-202-0008 (toll-free)

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.

Workers

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.

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.

Employers

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.

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.