New Workplace Safety Strategy & OHS Regulations in Nova Scotia

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Ontario isn’t the only province making major changes to how it regulates and addresses workplace safety issues in its workplaces. Nova Scotia recently announced some important changes to its approach to workplace safety.

Five-Year Workplace Safety Strategy

On March 20, 2013, the government announced a new workplace safety strategy for 2013-2017 that’s aimed at ensuring every Nova Scotian returns home safely from work each day. Highlights:

  • Focus on incident prevention through worker education and training
  • Increased access to tools that will help small- to medium-sized businesses
  • Promotion of better safety practices through inspection and enforcement
  • Identification of leaders to champion and advocate safe workplaces
  • Implementation of detailed safety policies and procedures to help measure workplace safety more effectively
  • Integration of health and safety awareness and training in public school and post-secondary curriculum.

The strategy was the result of province-wide consultations and extensive research, including looking at best practices from other jurisdictions. It has four guiding principles:

  1. Transparency;
  2. Accountability;
  3. Collaboration; and
  4. Fairness.

New OHS Regulations

On June 12, 2013, the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations will take effect. They contain new and amended requirements for:

  • Fall protection;
  • Rope access work;
  • Scaffolding;
  • Occupational health; and
  • Temporary workplaces on highways.

The new regulations will replace the current Blasting Safety Regulations, Fall Protection and Scaffolding Regulations, Occupational Safety General Regulations and Temporary Workplace Traffic Control Regulations. The goal is for all OHS regulations, except the Underground Mining Regulations, to eventually become part of the WHS Regulations.