In 2008, 29 Nova Scotia workers died on the job. The incidence of death in 2009 has not improved. Accordingly, on September 20, 2009 the Nova Scotia Government took decisive action and passed new regulations intended to deter ongoing and unnecessary injuries, deaths and unsafe work practices in the workplace.
The Safety Administrative Penalties Regulations come into effect January 15, 2010. There is no grace period or phase-in to the legislation. As of January 15, whenever an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Officer issues an Order for non-compliance an Administrator at the OHS Division may issue an accompanying monetary penalty (fine).
Penalties may be levied against employees and supervisors as well as employers. Penalties are within a range. Employees may receive a penalty of no less than $100 and up-to $1000. Supervisors may receive a penalty of no less than $250 and up-to $2000. Employers may receive a penalty of no less than $500 and up-to $4000.
There are approximately 4,000 Orders issued each year by OHS Officers. Orders are a result of any number non-compliance issues. Examples of non-compliance issues include, but is certainly not limited to: failure to post orders or minutes in the workplace; failure to provide respiratory equipment; failure to train staff on safety procedures; failure to properly guard or lock-out equipment; failure to prevent workplace violence; failure to have an established Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee or a designated Safety Representative; etc, etc.
Safety programming and compliance is a complex environment. If in doubt as to whether you are in compliance contact a safety professional. HR pros would be pleased to be of assistance to you and your organization.
Do you believe these new Regulations will deter unsafe work practices or do you feel this is an attempt by the NS government to self-fund the OHS Division? Give us your opinion by leaving a comment.