Frequently asked questions (faq) regarding occupational health and safety.
Do all company’s or business need a Safety Program?
A: Yes, to some extent the regulation requires some form of safety program. (see below)
WCB Regulation 3.1 – When program required
(1) An occupational health and safety program as outlined in section 3.3 must be initiated and maintained
(a) by each employer that has
(i) a workforce of 20 or more workers, and
(ii) at least one workplace that is determined under section 3.16 (2) (b) to create a moderate or high risk of injury, or
(b) by each employer that has a workforce of 50 or more workers.
(1.1) If subsection (1) (a) or (b) applies to the employer, the occupational health and safety program applies to the whole of the employer’s operations.
(2) Despite subsection (1) an occupational health and safety program may be required in any workplace when, in the opinion of an officer, such a program is necessary.
3.2 Small operations
In any operation where the workforce is less than that referred to in section 3.1(1) the employer must;
(a) initiate and maintain a less formal program based on regular monthly meetings with workers for discussion of health and safety matters,
(b) ensure that meetings are directed to matters concerning the correction of unsafe conditions and practices and the maintenance of cooperative interest in the health and safety of the workforce, and
(c) maintain a record of the meetings and the matters discussed
How do I know if my company is "regulation" compliant?
A: The best and easiest way to determine your company’s state of compliance and overall health and safety status is by having an independent safety audit performed on your company. It will provide you with an overview of the general condition of your company with regard to safety as well as a detailed look at the condition of your current safety management system.
Is a safety program something that can be done internally?
A: It’s not advisable to attempt something so extensive and involved without formal education in the field. Especially when responsibility plays a key role.
To develop a safety program takes a considerable amount of knowledge and experience within the safety field with regard to particular jurisdiction laws, bylaws, regulation, and requirements. You need to know a great deal about overall safety management which include areas such as hazard/risk assessment and management, incident/accident investigations, workplace inspections, emergency preparedness, policies and procedures…just to name a few.
What kinds of things are required in a Health and Safety Program?
A: WCB Regulation – 3.3 Contents of program
The occupational health and safety program must be designed to prevent injuries and occupational diseases, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the program must include;
(a) a statement of the employer’s aims and the responsibilities of the employer, supervisors and workers,
(b) provision for the regular inspection of premises, equipment, work methods and work practices, at appropriate intervals, to ensure that prompt action is undertaken to correct any hazardous conditions found,
(c) appropriate written instructions, available for reference by all workers, to supplement this Occupational Health and Safety Regulation,
(d) provision for holding periodic management meetings for the purpose of reviewing health and safety activities and incident trends, and for the determination of necessary courses of action,
(e) provision for the prompt investigation of incidents to determine the action necessary to prevent their recurrence,
(f) the maintenance of records and statistics, including reports of inspections and incident investigations, with provision for making this information available to the joint committee or worker health and safety representative, as applicable and, upon request, to an officer, the union representing the workers at the workplace or, if there is no union, the workers at the workplace, and
(g) provision by the employer for the instruction and supervision of workers in the safe performance of their work.
How long does it take to create one?
A: There are many variables that will come into play when developing a safety program for a company. The time it takes to develop a program will depend on the company size, their scope of work, there industry, and the current state of their safety management system already in place.