What is legislative compliance
Compliance (or adherence) with the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) and other relevant legislation and regulations related to health and safety of your employees is an important and legal requirement. Not being aware of your legal responsibilities and duties is not a defense for non-compliance.
What the law says
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sets out minimum health and safety standards for workplaces in Ontario. Employers are required by law to post a copy of the Act in the workplace. The OHSA is anchored on the "internal responsibility system", which means employers and employees share responsibility for keeping the workplace safe and workers healthy. Supervisors and workers both have roles to play.
Regulations are a detailed set of rules that explain how the general provisions, specified in the Act, must be applied.
There are other industry-specific regulations. Your health and safety association can help you with this information.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA)
sets out Ontario's no-fault insurance system for work-related injuries or illnesses.
How legislative compliance can affect your business
A safe environment is a productive workplace. Health and safety is not simply a legal obligation: it is a business opportunity. You can boost your bottom line by improving health and safety performance, which reduces the costs associated with avoidable losses and lost time injuries, and leads to high productivity.
The Ministry of Labour (MOL) is responsible for enforcing the OHSA and its regulations. MOL inspectors visit workplaces in response to complaints, injuries, and fatalities, or as part of proactive inspections.
The OHSA gives MOL inspectors a number of enforcement tools to obtain compliance with health and safety requirements. Inspectors can issue compliance orders, which describe actions the employer is obliged to take to become compliant with specific legal requirements. If there is immediate risk of injury to a worker, MOL inspectors have the power to issue a "stop work" order to prevent work from continuing until compliance is achieved. Inspectors can also issue tickets or initiate prosecution for non-compliance.
What you can do
- Become familiar with the legislation applicable to your work and learn about your rights and responsibilities
- Get help - contact your health and safety association for information on what training you can receive to ensure compliance before the inspector comes knocking
- Provide employees with hazard information, proper safety equipment, training and competent supervision
- Have worker representation for health and safety
- Follow proper procedures if an injury occurs
- Keep a safe and well-maintained workplace.