Understanding Yukon’s Health and Safety Requirements

As an employer, you play an important role in preventing workplace accidents and injuries, and promoting a safe and healthy workplace. In fact, under Yukon’s two governing pieces of the Health and Safety legislations, The Occupational Health and Safety Act, and The Workers’ Compensation Act, you have a legal obligation to properly inform, instruct and supervise your employees and to do everything you reasonably can to protect them.

What are my obligations and responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and Workers’ Compensation Act?

According to Section 3, under Duties in Respect of Health and Safety of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, you need to: 

  • Provide a workplace environment that is safe and without risks to your employees’ well-being.
  • Equipment and machinery should be maintained properly.
    • You can assess your workplace by completing the following forms: a Workplace Risk Assessment, Job Hazard Analysis form, and/or Field Level Risk Assessment form, which can all be found on the Northern Safety Network website
  • Implement proper techniques and procedures that will help prevent occupational injuries in the workplace.
  • Educate your employees on their responsibilities and rights
  • You need to provide e health and safety training to your employees to educate them on potential hazards in the workplace.
  • Identify health representatives and committee members in the performance of their duties
  • You need to provide a first aid kit, or station (depending on size and type of work you do) on site.
  • If there is a serious injury or illness, you must report it immediately, through the Employer's Report of Injury or Illness
  • Ensure that all reported documents are organized in a safe place.

What policies and programs are required?

  • A general policy statement on occupational health and safety (OHS), where it clearly states your commitment to occupation health and safety. You can find a sample on the Northern Safety Network website. CFIB members can access a template in the Member Portal.
    • This policy should be signed by the highest level of management.
  • A general policy statement on prevention to stop work-related injuries from happening in the workplace. You can find an example of this on the Northern Safety Network website
  • A policy detailing the roles and responsibilities of employers, supervisors, employees and safety representatives.
  • Safe work practices and procedures, as guidelines for the safest way of doing a job, and include job instruction with monitoring procedures to assess the performance.
  • For employers with more than 20 employees, establishing and maintaining an OHS committee.
  • Hazard Assessment and control procedures, outlining how to prevent or deal with hazards. Samples can be found on the Northern Safety Network website. 
  • Set up a clear and easy injury/incident reporting system. Both employers and supervisors have a duty to report all accident and incidents, and to complete forms on these injuries.
  • Emergency policy plan, such as the one found on the Northern Safety Network website

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: 

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • The safe work practices and procedures guidelines that you created based on your workplace.
  • A notice claiming that all injuries should be reported, and the first aid treatment received.
  • First Aid information (such as: the location of first aid supplies, equipment and service/The name of the person in charge of the first aid kit or room/Name and qualifications of each person trained to administer first aid at the workplace).
  • Details of your emergency procedure plan.
  • List of your emergency contacts (for example, the nearest police station and/or medical facility, a number to request an ambulance, and fire station).

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

This section is in accordance to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Section 12 under Safety Committees, Representatives, and officers.

I have fewer than 20 employees

  • The employer should select one, or more, health and safety representative(s) who does not exercise a managerial or supervisory role.
    1. The representative needs to identify situations that may be hazardous to workers and;
    2. The representative should report those situations to the employer and employees.
    3. Representatives also need to keep records of every incident, and should make those records available to the employer and a safety officer on request. 
  • You and your employees should be able to provide the health and safety representative any information and assistance for inspections.

I have 20 or more employees

  • As the employer, you need to initiate a joint health and safety committee. 
    1. The committee needs to consist a minimum of 4, and a maximum of 12 people.
    2. Half of the committee needs to be workers who do not partake in managerial functions, and should be selected by the employees they are representing.
    3. The committee needs to have two co-chairs that alternate function of chairing the meetings of the committee.
  • Employees need to select at least one health and safety representative who is among employees and who does not exercise managerial or supervisory functions.
  • Committees need to:
    1. Identify situations that may be a source of danger to workers.
    2. Investigate and deal with complaints relating to health and safety of workers.
    3. Develop and promote programs, measures, and procedures for the protection of health and safety and for the education and training of workers.
    4. Make recommendations to the employer and to the workers for improvements.
    5. Review all accident investigation reports and participate in investigations into accidents.
    6. Obtain from the employer any information respecting existing or potential hazards with respect to materials, processes, or equipment.
  • The committee needs to keep minutes of its meetings and record.
  • They shall meet in regular working hours at least once every month, and when meetings are urgently required they do not need to be met in regular working hours.

I am self-employed: 

  • To take all necessary precautions to ensure their own health and safety, and that of any other person in the workplace.
  • During appropriate times, use the safety devices and wear the safety clothing or equipment required under the act to be used and worn.
  • Comply with health and safety procedures and instructions given for their own, or any other person’s health or safety, from a person of authority.
  • Report immediately to the person or an agent of the person who engaged them for the works they are doing:
    1. Any situation which they have reason to believe would present a hazard and which they cannot correct, and
    2. Any accident or injury that arises in the course of or in connection with their work.

What kind of training is required?

Training of employees to perform their job safely should include: 

  • Filling out a Training Plan - a sample is available on the Northern Safety Network website.  
  • Going through Safety Work Practices and Procedures.
  • If they are a new employee, going through the Safety Orientation Checklist (sample available on the Northern Safety Network website) is a sure way of making sure everything is covered by the employee.

Training for representatives (under Section 14, Training for representatives of the OHS Act): 

  • As an employer you should be providing training your allocated representative within 90 days of their start date.
  • The health and safety representative should be able to:
    • Inspect the physical condition of the workplace.
    • Observe and, if qualified to do so, assist in or conduct tests for noise, lighting, and controlled products or agents in the workplace.
    • If there is a serious accident or serious injury at a workplace, accompany the safety officer during an investigation of the place where the accident or injury occurred.

Training of supervisors and OHS committee members

  • Should have the knowledge all the elements of the Health and Safety Program, such as how to promote and enforce the safety standards written by the employer.

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

For more specific information on First-aid minimum requirements, visit the WSCB Yukon website. 

  • First-aid kits and equipment need to:
    • Be kept clean, dry and complete.
    • If they have an expiry date, make sure you replace the first aid kit before then.
    • Kept in a visible and accessible location at the workplace.
    • Be accessible during all working hours.
  • There needs to be a notice within the vicinity of the First-aid kit stating:
    • The necessity of reporting all injuries and receiving First-aid treatments.
    • The locations of First-aid kits and all other First-aid equipment required at the workplace should be clear (for example, marked on work site map).
    • First-aid attendant(s) name and contact information.
    • The qualifications of each person trained to administer first aid at the workplace.
    • An emergency procedure, and a telephone list for reaching assistance (nearest police station, ambulance station, fire station and/or medical facility).
  • Employer, Employee and supervisor responsibilities:
    • Employers need to:
      • Assess the risk that workers are likely to encounter at the workplace.
      • Alongside supervisors, tackling incidences and reporting them.
    • Employees need to be
      • Reporting their injuries, and
      • Making sure they use the safety equipment that is provided for them by the employer.
    • Supervisors need to ensure that:
    • All reported injuries are recorded in an appropriate First-aid record.
    • First-aid services are available at all times.
    • All serious injuries are reported immediately to a safety officer.

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 1-833-568-2342 or email us at hrnow@cfib.ca