OHS Policy and Program
Every worker in Newfoundland and Labrador has the right to a healthy and safe workplace. An OHS policy or program outlines what is acceptable from a health and safety perspective at a specific workplace. It demonstrates that an organization takes the health and safety of its employees seriously, showing commitment and building trust. They are also essential to create a positive health and safety culture at a workplace.
An OHS policy must communicate the employer’s commitment to a healthy and safe workforce, be signed by senior management, be reviewed regularly, and updated as needed. When drafting such policies, it is important to incorporate the responsibilities of all workplace parties (employer, supervisor, worker, etc.).
An OHS program is a system to manage health and safety issues in the workplace. It must include an OHS policy, as well as additional elements necessary to prevent injury and illness at the specific workplace. Like an OHS policy, a program must be reviewed regularly and updated as needed.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations state that where 20 or more workers are employed at a workplace, the employer must establish and maintain an occupational health and safety (OHS) program.
Duties of Employers and Workers in OHS
Employers and employees have a personal responsibility and accountability for workplace health and safety. This is also referred to as an Internal Responsibility System (IRS). Employers are responsible for developing safe work practices, providing adequate training and making employees familiar with hazards in the workplace. Employees follow the safe work practices, participate in the training and report hazards.