Understanding Nova Scotia’s Health and Safety Requirements

As an employer, you play an important role in preventing workplace injuries and promoting a safe and healthy workplace. In fact, under the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS), you have a legal obligation to properly inform, instruct and supervise your employees and to do everything you reasonably can to protect them.

Occupational Health and Safety

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 1 to 5 employees:

  • Post a written Health and Safety Policy – not necessary but recommended.

I have 5 to 19 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 20 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.

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.

First Aid Kits  

Nova Scotia requires workplaces to follow the CSA Z1220-17 standard for first aid kits. CSA Z1220-17 “First aid kits for the workplace” sets out the type, size (including a contents list) and number of first aid kits required, based on various factors of the workplace. The number of kits you need will be based on the number of employees you have, your industry (risk), and the distance from a medical facility.  

 There are 3 types of kits:  

  • Personal first aid kits are for workers who work alone, in isolation, or who do not otherwise have readily available access to a workplace first aid kit. 
  • Basic first aid kits are more common and are suitable for most workplaces with a low-moderate risk work environment. 
  • Intermediate first aid kits are suitable for workplaces with a higher risk work environment.  

Visit Z1220-17 (R2021) | Product | CSA Group to purchase a copy or access a free, view-only copy of the standard.  

First aid providers  

The number of first aid trained providers depends on the number of workers during the shift, the type of work you do and the travel time to emergency services. First aiders are certified at three levels: basic, intermediate, or advanced. A chart to determine the number can be found on page 11 of this Workplace First Aid Guide for Employers and First Aiders.   

Employers must pay the cost of first aiders’ training and regular wages and benefits while they are taking the training.  

Other employer responsibilities 

All businesses need to:  

  • Post signage in a visible place in the workplace indicating: 
    • the location of first aid kits in the workplace.
    • the name and phone number of the workplace first aider(s) in the workplace 
    • provide safe and timely emergency transportation for the ill or injured. 
  • Employers must keep detailed records of every injury in the workplace and keep these records confidential. A record must include the following: 
    • the name of the injured person 
    • the date and time of the injury 
    • the location and nature of the injuries on the person’s body  
    • the time when first aid was administered 
    • the first aid treatment provided 
    • the name of the person who provided the first aid and the workplace first aid certificate they hold 
    • the name of the person the injury was reported to  

Records must be maintained for five years 

More information can be found in Nova Scotia’s First Aid Guide.  

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 Business Resources for further information, examples of a Health and Safety Policy, Emergency Communication Procedure, or for more details on any Occupational Health and Safety issue at 1-833-568-2342 or by e-mail at hrnow@cfib.ca