Skip to main content

Understanding the Federal Health and Safety Requirements

  • Home
  • Understanding the Federal Health and Safety Requirements

As an employer, you play an important role in preventing workplace accidents and injuries, and promoting safe and healthy workplaces. Employers in federally regulated industries – such as transportation, shipping, pipelines, flour mills, grain seed plants, feed warehouse, radio, or television broadcasting, etc. – fall under the jurisdiction of the federal health and safety legislation within the Canada Labour Code, Part II (“the Code”).  A list of federally regulated businesses and industries can be found here.

See here for basic summaries of the information contained in the code, and for any legal interpretation please refer to the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (COHSR) regulation.

As an employer, what are my obligations and responsibilities under Part II of the Canada Labour Code?
  • Provide a safe and healthy workplace.
  • Educate employees on potential hazards in the workplace.
  • Implement and enforce appropriate workplace health and safety policies.
  • Do everything reasonable to protect work-related injuries and illness.
  • Correct unsafe actions and conditions.
  • Ensure protective equipment is available and being used.
  • Provide an appropriate understanding of overall work safety procedures.
  • Knowledge of the safe use of workplace tools and equipment.

 

What policies and programs are required?
  • General policy on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).
  • Emergency Evacuation Procedures to be created when more than 50 employees are working in a building at any given time.
  • Develop, implement, and maintain a hazard prevention program and a violence prevention program.
  • Report and investigate all accidents and incidents. In fact, most employers are responsible for implementing an internal complaint resolution process.
  • Adopt and implement prescribed safety codes (e.g., safety standards and standards relating to fire safety, and emergency measures).

NOTE: Harassment and sexual violence in the workplace programs are scheduled to come into effect in 2020, as part of the changes being proposed to the Canada Labour Code.

 

What documents are to be posted and made available to employees?

Employers must ensure the following documents are posted in a visible and central location for all employees:

  • Canada Labour Code, Part II (“the Code”).
  • The employer's general OHS policy.
  • OHS committee member information, names, and contact information.
  • First-aid information (such as: First-aid attendant information, location of First-aid station, information regarding transport procedures for injured employees, list of telephone numbers for use in emergencies, etc.).
  • Details of the Emergency Evacuation Procedures.
  • Work Place Violence (WPV) Prevention Policy along with emergency notification procedures for WPV.

 

When requested, employees should also have access to:

 

When must a health and safety committee/representative be established?

I have fewer than 20 employees:

  • In work places where there are 19 employees or less there must be a health and safety representative.
  • Conduct monthly inspections of all or part of the work place so that the entire work place is inspected at least once each year.
  • Participate in accident investigations and job hazard analyses.
  • For more information, please refer to the following pamphlet.

 

I have between 20 and 300 employees:

  • Work place health and safety committees must be established in work places where there are 20 or more employees. At least half of the committee members must be employees who do not have managerial functions.
  • Regular meetings must be held.
  • Conduct monthly inspections of all or part of the work place so that the entire work place is inspected at least once each year.
  • Participate in accident investigations and job hazard analyses.
  • For more information, please refer to the following pamphlet.

 

I have more than 300 employees: 

  • Policy health and safety committees must be established where an employer has 300 or more employees.
  • Regular meetings must be held.
  • Conduct monthly inspections of all or part of the work place so that the entire work place is inspected at least once each year.
  • Participate in accident investigations and job hazard analyses.
  • For more information, please refer to the following pamphlet.

 

NOTE: The only specific exemption to the workplace committee requirement applies to employees working on a ship or aircraft. The way committee members or representatives are selected depends on whether the work place is unionized or non-unionized (learn more here).

 

What kind of training is required?

Training of employees to perform their job safely should include: 

  • The minimum mandatory training should include: Canada Labour Code Part II; An overview and the employee’s three basic rights in federal jurisdiction, details about the health and safety committee, workplace inspections, hazard prevention and violence prevention programs, and accident investigation.
  • The extent and depth of the training required is dependent on the work practices and procedures particular to the work place operations. For example, you might want to provide training on working in confined spaces, or working in cold weather, or working alone, or about working at heights.
  • Whenever possible, it is best to provide documentation.

 

Training of supervisors, managers, as well as OHS committee members should include: 

  • The duties of the employer, the duties of the employees, the three basic rights of employees, and procedures required by the Code (i.e. the proper steps to follow in cases of refusal to work, the internal complaint resolution procedure, the obligation to workplace inspections,  as well as how to report and investigate workplace accidents, etc.)
  • The minimum mandatory training should include: Canada Labour Code Part II; An overview, health and safety committees in federal jurisdiction, health and safety for managers and supervisors in federal jurisdiction, hazard prevention and violence prevention programs, workplace inspections, and accident investigation.

 

What are the requirements for first-aid facilities and health services?
  • At every workplace at which six or more employees are working at any time, the employer shall ensure that there is a First-aid attendant. As per the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulation -- Part XVI First Aid, there are certain industries that have different requirements, so please be sure to consult the legislation.
  • The employer shall ensure that the first aid attendant at the workplace is qualified by having at least:  
    • up to two hours, a basic First-aid certificate;
    • or more than two hours, a standard First-aid certificate.
  • A designated First-aid station or First-aid room must include the following:
    • be made available during working hours to all employees;
    • be clearly identified by a conspicuous sign;
    • include a list of First-aid attendants, and information on how they may be located;
    • near the telephones, with a list of telephone numbers kept up-to-date for use in emergencies ; and
    • located near the First-aid attendant.
  • If First-aid is required, the attendant must record the following information:
    • Time, date, and location of the injury;
    • Full name of the injured or ill employee;
    • Brief description of the injury;
    • Brief description of the first aid that was provided;
    • Name of witnesses, if applicable; and
    • Have it signed by the employer, injured / ill employee, and First-aid attendant.
  • The First-aid Supplies and Equipment at every workplace vary based on the number of employees set out the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulation -- Part XVI First Aid.
  • The employer must inspect every First-aid station regularly, at least monthly, and must ensure that its contents are maintained in a clean, dry and serviceable condition.

 

CFIB is here to help you!

In addition to health and safety requirements, there are several other compliance measures your business should be considering. You can always contact CFIB for further information, examples of a Health and Safety Policy, Emergency Communication Procedure, or more details on any Occupational Health and Safety issues at 1.888.234.2232 or email us at [email protected]