OHS Insider delivers hundreds of useful tools that will save you both time and money, while also ensuring that your business is compliant with the latest laws and regulations in your area and/or industry.
To access a tool:
1. Pick either the topic or tool type you are interested in from the dropdown below, and
2. Select the tool you want from the list created
This form can help you gather key information about a bomb threat called into your workplace, including information about the nature of the threat, where the caller may be calling from and the caller himself.
Ensure that a permit such as this one is completed before any hot work such as welding is performed in the workplace.
Adapt this model suspension letter for your OHS program, the OHS a employment standards laws in your jurisdiction and the terms of the collective agreement. Complete it whenever you suspend a worker for a safety-related violation.
Adapt this model policy for your company’s operations and OHS program and the specific requirements in your jurisdiction’s OHS laws on confined spaces.
Require a supervisor or other “competent person” to use this checklist to inspect all trenches and excavations BEFORE workers begin work inside of them.
Require workers who drive on the job to use this checklist to regularly inspect their vehicles to ensure that the equipment is in good condition and operating properly.
Give this questionnaire to all employees and encourage them to complete it if they suspect that they might be the victims of workplace bullying.
Use this form to assess the respiratory hazards in your workplace to determine if respiratory protection is needed and, if so, the correct type of protection.
Adapt this self-reporting form for your company’s operations and fatigue risk management system, if it has one, and give it to all workers at risk of experiencing fatigue.
Adapt this model emergency response plan for your workplace and the emergency plan requirements in the OHS laws in your jurisdiction.
Adapt this plan for your workplace and OHS requirements, and ensure that workers at risk of accidental exposure to infectious illnesses are trained on it.
Use this form when reviewing records such as first aid reports to document information that can help you identify possible ergonomics-related hazards.
Adapt this model ergonomics policy for your workplace, OHS program and the requirements in your jurisdiction’s OHS regulations and train all staff on it.
Give this checklist to whomever in your workplace gives tool box talks to your workers, such as supervisors, so they can adequately prepare for such talks.
Your JHSC can use this form when making safety recommendations to management, including management's response and any committee followup.
Worker fatigue can lead to safety incidents. Use this checklist to identify work-related factors that can contribute to fatigue and may need assessment.
Use this checklist to assess whether your company and its OHS program is taking reasonable steps to ensure the safety of older workers, who may be more vulnerable to injury on the job.
Have office workers complete this checklist to assess their workstation layout and posture to reduce the risk of MSIs.
Adapt this model exposure control plan to protect workers designated as “first aid attendants” or “first aiders” from exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
Give this handout to workers as part of a safety talk to teach them the hazards that can injure their hands and the steps to take to protect themselves.
Question from a member:
I have one question about the new training requirements in Bill 160. Regarding the jhsc. . . . currently it's stated that only the co-chairs need to be certified. I would consider this specific health & safety training. Under Bill 160, will this certification be required for all members of the jhsc? (not just the co-chairs) Tina Borghese <email@example.com******** OHSI's response: Good question, Tina. Bill 160 would change the OHS Act (Sec. 7.6(1)(a)) to give the MOL authority to require certification of JHSC members. When and if Bill 160 is officially approved by the end of the current Assembly session on June
Here’s your chance to tell us what safety compliance information you need the most and to rate the coverage of various topics on the OHS Insider.
According to CCOHS, an estimated 60% of the workers killed in confined spaces were would-be rescuers. For example, of the four workers killed in a BC barge, three entered the confined space as rescuers. So it’s hardly a surprise that OHS confined space regulations require measures to ensure the safety of not only the workers who enter the confined space to perform work operations but also the ones who might have to go in to rescue them. Having an effective emergency plan for confined spaces is the key to protecting both of these groups. We’ll explain the confined space emergency plan
On Oct. 1, 2008, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) launched a two-year pilot project offering free online access to its OHS standards to increase accessibility and improve safety in Canadian workplaces. Registered users could view OHS standards referenced by their jurisdiction’s OHS laws through the CSA View Access page and links on the various workers’ compensation boards. But users couldn’t copy them or print them out.
Free access was valuable because it gave stakeholders a chance to review a standard to determine if it applied to them before buying the whole standard. It was also appropriate given that some
Watch the recorded webinar now
All employers in Canada have a duty to prevent and protect workers from violence. The OHS laws impose this obligation in one of two ways. In seven jurisdictions—Fed, AB, BC, MB, NS, PEI and SK—the OHS laws specifically say employers must take steps to address workplace violence. (Québec requires employers to prevent “workplace psychological harassment,” including physical violence.) In the remaining jurisdictions, this duty is implied by the OHS law’s “general duty clause.” Ontario currently falls in the latter group—but its status is likely to change soon. The government recently introduced a bill that would add new language to the
a home office safety checklist created by Alberta Employment and Immigration that you can adapt to conduct a hazard assessment of a telecommuter’s home office.
We all know about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. But if you think driving a car while talking on a cell phone is dangerous, imagine the hazards of operating a forklift, working on an assembly line or performing other safety-sensitive jobs while chatting away on a cell phone. In fact, many workplace incidents occur because workers weren’t concentrating on the task at hand.
Cell phones aren’t the only source of distractions but they’ve made the problem much worse. So if you’re a safety coordinator, you need to restrict the use of cell phones by workers at
I’m going to try out my new Julia Child approach to OHS compliance with a recipe favorite from the WHMIS food groups—MSDS Liability Lasagna. INGREDIENTS 1 Batch hazardous chemicals—any quantity and assortment of controlled products will do 1 Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each chemical 1 unfilled 3-ring MSDS binder 1 3-ring hole punch 1 office (must include a doorknob and at least 1 lock to secure it) 1 key for each lock INSTRUCTIONS Step 1: Using your hole punch, punch 3 holes into the side of each MSDS Step 2: Insert all punched MSDSs into the MSDS binder Step 3: Once assembled, put the MSDS binder into the
One of a safety coordinator’s key duties—and biggest challenges—is to ensure that your company complies with all requirements under WHMIS laws. A critical aspect of this responsibility is ensuring that each hazardous chemical and substance (called “controlled products” in WHMIS lingo) in your workplace has a proper label describing the product’s dangerous properties and the precautions to take when using it. We’ll explain the WHMIS requirements for labels on containers of controlled products and how to comply with those requirements to protect your workers from chemical injuries and your company from liability for WHMIS violations. There’s also a chart showing the
An operator refused to drive an aircraft de-icing vehicle because a notice on the machine said the brakes weren’t working. The operator also claimed there had been other problems with that vehicle model, including jerky brakes. The safety officer investigated and found no danger; the brakes were working fine and the notice had been put on the machine by mistake. The arbitrator didn’t fault the operator for not knowing that the notice had been left on the machine by mistake. But he agreed with the safety officer that the vehicle was safe. “There was no evidence that the [company] took
Sec. 50 of the OHS Act bans employers from firing workers in reprisal for exercising their OHS rights. A security guard claimed he was fired in reprisal for complaining about being harassed by his supervisor. Although protection from harassment has been part of the OHS law since Bill 168 took effect on June 15, 2010, the alleged harassment in this case occurred before that. And since the right to be free from harassment didn’t exist yet, the Board ruled that the guard didn’t have a valid case of reprisal for exercising an OHS right [Barton v. Commissionaires (Great Lakes), 
An employee, who was a member of the JHSC, engaged in a work refusal. Less than a month later, he was fired. Another employee and member of the JHSC tried to help the first employee with regard to the work refusal and she too was fired. The employees filed a grievance, arguing that they’d been fired in retaliation for exercising their rights under the OHS Act. The company didn’t respond to the grievance by the deadline required in the Act. So the Board was forced to accept the employees’ version of what happened. It ordered the company to reinstate the
A city reassigned a worker from Radiation Supervisor to Shift Supervisor. The worker filed a grievance, claiming that he’d been reassigned in retaliation for safety issues he’d raised about the city’s handling of radioactive waste. The Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled that the reassignment wasn’t retaliatory. The worker had complained that the Radiation Supervisor position wasn’t a one-person job and he couldn’t complete all the required tasks for that position. Thus, he was reassigned. There was no evidence that he was reassigned because of his safety complaints, which the city had, in fact, considered and, where appropriate, taken steps to
If there’s an accident at your workplace, your first instinct might be to clean up the mess and get operations back on track as soon as possible. This is especially true if the accident appears minor and your workplace is a store, restaurant, hospital or other establishment frequented by members of the public. Unfortunately, immediate cleanups can get you into big trouble. That’s because the OHS laws of every province impose a duty not to disturb the scene of an accident until a health and safety inspector looks it over and gives the all-clear. True, you can move
A horse farm worker filed a complaint, claiming that he was fired in retaliation for seeking compliance with the OHS Act. But the complaint was vague and lacked specific details. So the Labour Relations Board ordered the worker to state in writing by a set deadline the specific acts he undertook to get the farm to comply with the law and why he thought retaliation for these acts was part of the farm’s motivation for firing him. Otherwise, the complaint would be dismissed [Holder v. 1022248 Ontario Ltd.,  O.L.R.D. No. 3325, Aug. 12, 2008].
A fork lift operator had had several incidents. She’d been warned and temporarily demoted on three separate occasions. After yet another incident, the employer permanently demoted the worker. The union filed a grievance. The arbitrator concluded that the demotion was appropriate. The employer had taken many steps to try to make the worker a safe fork lift operator. But those steps failed and there was no reason to believe that lesser discipline would make the worker a safe driver now [Butcher Engineering Enterprises Ltd. v National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers Union of Canada, Local 195,  CanLII 28393
An employee was suspended after he was arrested. When the criminal charges were dropped, he asked to be reinstated, but the employer refused. So the employee filed a complaint accusing the employer of suspending him because, in a safety training orientation, he’d pointed out flaws in the protective equipment it supplied. The Labour Relations Board dismissed his complaint, ruling that there was no evidence that the employee’s suspension was a reprisal for his comments. In fact, there was no evidence that the employer even knew about the employee’s safety concerns [Czerniak v. Ontario (Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services),
With warnings about the deadly Hantavirus posted all over the country, a worker refused to clean walkways that were strewn with dead rodents and rodent feces. He was also worried that lead paint or asbestos would flake off the structures around the walkways. The health and safety officer found no danger. The worker appealed, but the appeals officer agreed with the safety officer. Among other things, he noted that the lead chips were unlikely to get ground into a fine powder and that the worker had adequate PPE, including a half-face respirator with a HEPA filter [Genereux and
You all know about C-45. But there’s another important new criminal law that’s been flying under the radar. It’s called C-13 and, like C-45, it turns certain OHS violations into potential crimes. C-13 took effect on September 15, 2004. The reason you might not know about it is that it’s primarily a corporate stock fraud law. But it spills over into other areas, including workplace health and safety. So you need to be aware of the law and what to do about it.
We’ll explain how C-13 affects you and how to protect your company.
Here are the measures employers must take to protect workers against second-hand smoke in the various provinces.
This flu season, workers may try to refuse to work due to fears of getting sick. Can they?
During the summer, outdoor workers may face the risk of not only getting heat stress but also being bit by mosquitoes and contracting the West Nile Virus.
It used to be that when workers got injured on the job, they were suffering from physical injuries. But our understanding of workplace injury and illness has changed to include mental conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Similarly, these ailments are typically caused not by hazardous chemicals, machines and other physical dangers contained in the workplace but by an unhealthy psychological climate where hazards include workplace violence, bullying and mental stress. This expanded view of workplace hazards and injuries has severe financial consequences for companies. Workers are filing workers’ comp claims—and in some cases, lawsuits—over these mental injuries.
A recent BC cases shows the polluter pays principle is alive and well when it comes to environmental law and allocating remediation costs.
According to Fire Prevention Canada, the key to correctly using a fire extinguisher is the mnemonic device “PASS”:
At companies in the compliance phase, safety professionals must move from negative to positive reinforcement in communications about the OHS program.
By Fred Leafloor, CRSP, CHSC, CRM This article is the first in a series providing the author’s insight into the changing communications role of the safety professional. Much of a safety professional’s effectiveness is determined by his or her ability to clearly articulate important ideas in a manner and in the business language that an operations-oriented management/supervision team can accept and adapt for use within their own roles. As an organization’s health and safety performance matures, safety professionals must change their approaches and communications styles to maintain the effectiveness of their messaging. This series of articles assumes that the safety professional already
Include language in your company’s workplace violence and harassment policy that expressly bars workers—and visitors—from bringing weapons to work and from possessing and using weapons in your workplace. The policy should also include a broad definition of “weapon” that covers items such as knives, hand guns, stun guns, rifles, box cutters and police-type batons. And make sure to post signs at entrances to the workplace as well as inside stating that weapons are banned.
Banning weapons won’t eliminate the risk of workplace violence, of course. Workers who intend to commit premeditated acts of violence are unlikely to be deterred by
You may need to be more creative to get your safety training through to young workers. Consider using zombies.