Here in our province, the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act & Regulations require that employers establish and maintain an OHS Program for workplaces where 10 or more workers are employed.
Workplace NL describes an OHS Program as a process to manage health and safety issues in the workplace. It prevents injury, illness, and property damage and decreases the associated human and financial costs. An effective OHS Program creates a positive health and safety culture.
Elements of an OHS Program
- Leadership and administration
- OHS Committee
- Education and training
- Safe work practices and procedures
- Hazard recognition, evaluation, and control
- Workplace inspections
- Incident investigations
- Emergency preparedness and response
- Disability management
Ergonomics (Musculoskeletal injury prevention) should also be incorporated throughout each element of the program.
An OHS Program must be specific to each individual workplace. Although the minimum elements remain the same, the requirements, processes, tools, and documentation should be tailored to meet the needs of the company and must be reviewed at least every 3 years. Information and training must be provided to all workers regarding their roles and responsibilities. Worker engagement is essential to maintaining an OHS Program.
There also must be commitment from top management in order for an OHS Program to be effective.
An employer is exercising their due diligence by implementing and maintaining an effective OHS Program. Due diligence is the level of judgment, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances. When applied to occupational health and safety, employers shall take all reasonable precautions under particular circumstances to prevent injuries or incidents in the workplace.
By focusing on prevention and effectively managing workplace incidents, you can help keep your employees healthy and safe while saving your organization time and money.
Work safe. Home safe. Every day.
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