Nova Scotia health and safety must haves for every employer

It might be surprising but, even the smallest employers have obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Nova Scotia.

Safety is always top priority for employees and customers, but sometimes employers don't know what policies and procedures are needed in their business. In Nova Scotia, failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act can be charged as an offence. Business owners found liable could be subjected to a fine up to $250,000, two years in prison or both.

Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety requirements differ depending on the number of employees employed by a business. This includes multiple locations.

Every employer needs the following to be compliant:

  • Posted  Nova Scotia OHS Act
  • Posted Nova Scotia OHS contact information sheet
  • A posted Emergency Communication procedure
  • Copy of the WHMIS/GHS regulations
  • A Trained first aid provider
  • A first aid kit appropriate to the size and type of business you have
  • A posted copy of your workplace violence prevention statement

In addition to the above list, you have further requirements based on number of employees you have:

I have one to five employees

  • Post a written Health and Safety Policy – not necessary but recommended
I have five to nineteen employees
  • Post a written Health and Safety Policy
  • Assign a Health and Safety representative and post their name and contact information

I have more than twenty employees

  • Post a written health and safety policy
  • Assign a Health and Safety Committee
  • Create a Health and Safety Program with the Health and Safety Committee
  • Post the names of the current OHS committee members and how they may be contacted
  • Hold and post the minutes of the OHS committee meetings.

Where can I get help with Occupational Health and Safety compliance?

You can contact the NS OHS division at 1-800-952-2687 or visit their Small Business Safety Toolkit web page or better yet, contact us and we will provide you the templates and policies that you need at 1-888-234-2232 or by emailing