Understanding Northwest Territories and Nunavut's Health and Safety Requirements

No matter how small your business is or the type of work you do, you must provide and maintain a safe workplace. Developing an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Program builds a framework to manage health and safety as an integral part of your business. The following legislation governs workplace health and safety in Northwest Territories and Nunavut:

For more information on OHS regulations in other industries, please refer to the following:

As an employer, what are my obligations and responsibilities under the Northwest Territories Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and Safety Acts?

  • Create an OHS program to maintain a safe work environment that complies with Safety Acts and OHS Regulations
  • Always keep this program up-to-date.
  • Identify and inform your employees about all workplace hazards, and hazards controls.
  • Develop Safe Work Procedures and Practices – you must ensure to educate and train your employees.
  • Offer first aid services that are in accord to the OHS Regulations (Part 5: First Aid, Section 56).
  • Report accidents and injuries to the Chief Safety Officer and the WSCC as required by the Safety Act and the OHS regulation (Part 2: Reporting, Section 8). 
  • Investigate incidents and accidents to determine the root cause, and take corrective action to prevent recurrence.
  • Document and track your OHS activities to help demonstrate your commitment to the OHS Regulations and Safety Acts.

What policies and programs are required?

According to Part 3: General Duties, Section 21 of the OHS Regulations, you need to include the following:

  • A general OHS program / policy, which should include a written OHS Policy statement, and is to be made easily accessible location to employees. The program should also identify your employees OHS duties and responsibilities, as well as demonstrate your commitment to creating a safe workplace.
  • A policy that identifies all hazards in the workplace.
  • Develop a hazard control program.
  • Create an Emergency Response Plan which should be used to educate every person in the workplace about what they should do in case of an emergency.
  • Safe work procedures stating each person’s responsibility and duties.
  • Develop a Harassment and Violence program.
  • A schedule of regular inspection of the workplace, with review of proper workplace procedures and processes.
  • Create an OHS training plan to ensure your employees have the competencies to perform their work safely. This should also include safe work procedures, plans, policies or any programs that the employer is required to develop. Make sure you keep a clear record of this.
  • Incident investigation and reporting procedure. These are steps to take in identifying what happened, how to prepare a report on an incident and how to identify corrective action.
    • Must complete this form within 3 business days after an incident happened.
  • A strategy for employee participation in OHS activities (for example, audit inspections).

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

  • You must make the Safety Act and the OHS Regulations readily available to them.
  • Your general OHS policy.
  • Your safe work procedures & practices documents, guiding employees the safest way to perform their work. 
  • Hazard controls documents. It could be in a form of a Hazard Assessment Checklist and a Hazard report form, should they face any unexpected hazards.
  • You should have your Emergency Response Plan in an accessible location for the employees.
    • List and assign steps to be taken, including who should be reminding employees on evacuation routes and who should be reporting the employees present/absent.
  • Contact information of OHS Committee members (when you have 20 or more workers) or OHS representative (when you have less than 20 workers) in an accessible place.
  • Inspection report forms. To show that you practice due diligence to comply with occupation health and safety legislation, you must document your activities.
  • First Aid Register, First aid kits, with a First Aid Log book to track injuries and ensure the kit is replenished.

NOTE: When requested, employees can also have access to the meeting minutes from the OHS committee (see requirements below).

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

I have 20 or more employees:

As an employer, you will need to establish a Committee if:

    • Your workplace has 20 or more employees.
    • Or if a Chief Safety Officer tells you to establish one.
  • A committee needs to:
    • Be composed of employees that were chosen by employees from the work place, which will represent the OHS concerns of their co-workers.
    • The employer will elect an individual of their choosing, to represent themselves.
    • All of the names of each committee member should be easily accessible to employees in the workplace.
  • Frequency of meetings:
    • Hold its first meeting within 14 days of the committee being established.
    • Hold regular meetings that does not exceed 3 months between meetings.
  • A committee needs to record minutes of each meeting, and keep a file of these minutes.
  • A committee co-chair person needs to be representing the employees of the workplace, and another co-chair from the committee needs to represent the employer.
    • Both co-chairs need to keep their respective parties informed.

I have fewer than 20 employees:

  • You need to designate at least 1 employee as the OHS representative for the employees.
  • Their name and contact information should be easily accessible to employees in the workplace.
  • As an employer, you should be meeting with the representative on a regular basis.
  • The representative should perform an inspection of the workplace, no less than once every 3 months, and submit a written report to the employer about their inspection.

What kind of training is required?

According to Part 3: General Duties Section 18 of the OHS Regulations an important duty as an employer is to ensure employees and supervisors/OHS representatives are competent by having the proper training to avoid unsafe work practices.

  • Training of employees of Safe Work practices should be given when:
    1. A new worker to the workplace must receive orientation training, to understand their health and safety roles and responsibilities;
    2. Moved to a new work location, or a new work activity that might involve new hazards; and lastly,
    3. If an employee is returning to a job where processes or hazards have changed, they need to be trained of these new changes. 
  • Training for representatives and OHS committees members (Part 4: Committee and representative, Section 51 of OHS Regulations):
    • As the employer, you need to ensure that the co-chairs of the committee, or the OHS representative know their duties and functions.

What are the requirements for First-aid facilities and health services?

Your First-aid training and equipment requirements change depending on the number of workers you have at a work site and the site distance to a medical facility, according to Part 5: First-aid. Therefore, please be sure to consult the legislation.

Generally speaking, if you have a workplace with less than 20 employee, your First-aid attendant(s) needs at least a Level 1 qualification (specifics can be found in the OHS Regulations, Schedule A). This means:

  • Your First-aid attendant has to be trained by an approved agency indicating the completion of a first aid training course. According to Schedule D of the OHS Regulations
  • According to Schedule G within the OHS regulations,, you need to provide and maintain an accessible first aid station that contains:
    • First-aid box (for specifics on what to include in your first aid box, look at Schedules H & I of the OHS Regulations).
    • A suitable First-aid manual.
    • An appropriate emergency procedure that is prominently displayed with an emergency telephone number list.
    • First-aid Register.
  • Consider how you will transport an injured or ill worker to the nearest appropriate medical facility, and write it down on a procedure plan.
  • If first aid is required, the attendant must record the injury.

What are the requirements for a Harassment and Violence program?

Harassment Policy for the workplace  (Section 34 & 35 of the OHS Regulations):

  • You need to develop and implement a written policy that includes:
    • A clear definition of what constitutes as harassment.
    • A statement that each worker is entitled to a harassment free workplace.
    • A statement of commitment that the employer will make the effort of ensuring no harassment will take place, and should it happen, they will take corrective action.
    • An explanation on how harassment complaints should be brought to the employer’s attention.
    • A description of the procedure the employer will follow should a harassment claim be brought up.

Violence Policy for the workplace  (Section 34 & 35 of the OHS Regulations):

  • You need to develop and implement a written policy that includes:
    • A statement stating your commitment to eliminate or reduce the risk of violence in the workplace.
    • The procedure that need to be followed to inform employees of the nature and extent of rick from violence.
    • The actions you will be taking to eliminate or reduce the risk of violence.
    • The reporting procedure should an employee experience violence in the workplace.
    • The procedure you will follow to document and investigate violence that was reported.

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 cfib@cfib.ca