Your Guide to the Updated Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

In our last newsletter, we started looking into the new forthcoming OHSA.  We have done more investigation here and it is important to highlight that the OHSA affects all employers in Ontario, including amateur sport organizations from all levels.  Many organizations are not aware of their legal obligations and responsibilities with respect to health and safety in the workplace.

Under the Act, an employer must “take every precaution under the circumstances for the protection of a worker".

This has been interpreted by the courts as placing a positive duty on an employer to put in place a proper system to prevent the occurrence of offenses under the Act and to take reasonable steps to ensure the effective operation of that system.

All organizations should already have in place the following:

  • Occupational Health and Safety Policy
  • Delegation of responsibilities for health and safety
  • Centralized safety program, standard and service
  • Procedure to monitor and audit safety activities
  • Monthly inspections
  • Delegated First Aid station on site
  • Emergency Response/Evacuation Program

As of June 15th 2010, Bill-168 came into force, which requires that all employers/organizations have in place a policy to deal with the issue of workplace violence and harassment.  All employers are legally required to ensure that that all workers, including managers and supervisors, receive information and instruction on the contents of the policy and program relating to workplace violence and harassment, including the complaint and investigation process.

As a result of Bill 168, organizations now also need the following:

  • Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy
  • A means of summoning immediate assistance
  • Procedure for workers to report incidents or raise concerns
  • Procedure to investigate complaints
  • Appropriate disciplinary response

We have prepared a detailed “Health and Safety Manual” and a “Guide to the Act” that you can purchase from the Centre for Sport and Law.  Our Manual includes a Health and Safety Policy, a Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy, as well as procedural suggestions, templates, appendices and more.  We can send you a preview and assist your organization in the identification and control of workplace hazards and thereby promote a safe and healthy environment for your employees, visitors, and contractors.

Originally published: Centre for Sport and Law Newsletter (2010) Vol. 6(4)

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