WHMIS

Nova Scotia Legislation

Nova Scotia Due Diligence

This material has been extracted from the Acts and Regulations of the Province to help students understand the subject. It is not an official source of information and must not be used for any other purpose.

The following is copyright © 2009, Province of Nova Scotia

Occupational Health and Safety Act
S.N.S. 1996, c. 7


Part 2 - General
Application
3 These regulations apply to all workplaces to which the Occupational Health and Safety Act applies, unless otherwise expressly provided.

Duties of parties
4 (1) Where these regulations impose a duty on an employer, the duty is also imposed on a contractor, constructor, supplier, employee, owner or self-employed person, to the extent of the contractor’s, constructor’s, supplier’s, employee’s, owner’s or self-employed person’s authority and ability to discharge the duty in the circumstances.
(2) For the purpose of applying Section 23 of the Act,
(a) the person with the greatest authority and ability to ensure that a duty is discharged or a requirement is met is presumed to be the person with the greatest degree of control over the matter that is the subject of the duty or the requirement; and
(b) where a provision in a lease or other agreement relating to property rights gives a specified owner authority to control an aspect of lands or premises that are used as a workplace, the provision is prima facie evidence that the specified owner has the greatest degree of control over that aspect of the land or premises.

Conflict with incorporated standard
5 In the event of an inconsistency between these regulations and a standard incorporated by reference in these regulations, the regulations prevail over the standard to the extent of the inconsistency.

Compliance with specified editions of standards
6 (1) Subject to subsection (2), where these regulations require that an object, or activity in relation to an object, comply with an edition of a standard published in a specified year,
(a) if the requirement is to ensure that an object physically conforms to the standard, the object shall be deemed to comply with the standard if
(i) it conforms to the physical specifications contained in the latest version of the standard published at the object's date of manufacture, or
(ii) in the event that no version of the standard existed at the object's date of manufacture, it conforms to generally accepted engineering principles prevailing at the object's date of manufacture,
unless there is evidence raising a reasonable doubt as to whether the object is adequate;
(b) if the requirement is to ensure that inspection, maintenance, use or other activity in relation to an object is carried out in accordance with the standard, compliance with the standard is required unless it is established that compliance with an earlier version of the standard, or with generally accepted engineering principles prevailing at the object’s date of manufacture, is more likely to ensure adequate performance of the object.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the requirement to conform to an edition of a standard appearing in subsection 10(1), Section 11, subsection 13(2), Section 14, subsections 16(2), 18(1), 45(2), and 134(4), Section 136, subsection 154(4), or Section 156.

Consultation and implementation
7 An employer developing or reviewing a written policy or procedure for the purpose of these regulations shall do so in consultation with the committee or representative, if any.
8 Where a written policy or procedure is developed for the purpose of the Act or these regulations, the employer shall ensure that
(a) the policy or procedure is adequate and implemented; and
(b) each employee required to perform a function under the policy or procedure is trained in respect of the policy or procedure generally, and in particular in the requirements relating to that employee.
Record retention
8A An employer shall keep each record required to be kept under subsections 75(3), 80(9) and 130(10) for a period of 5 years after the date on which the record was made.
Section 8A added: O.I.C. 2000-130, N.S. Reg. 52/2000.

Employers' precautions and duties
13 (1) Every employer shall take every precaution that is reasonable in the circumstances to
(a) ensure the health and safety of persons at or near the workplace;
(b) provide and maintain equipment, machines, materials or things that are properly equipped with safety devices;
(c) provide such information, instruction, training, supervision and facilities as are necessary to the health or safety of the employees;
(d) ensure that the employees, and particularly the supervisors and foremen, are made familiar with any health or safety hazards that may be met by them at the workplace;
(e) ensure that the employees are made familiar with the proper use of all devices, equipment and clothing required for their protection; and
(f) conduct the employer's undertaking so that employees are not exposed to health or safety hazards as a result of the undertaking.
(2) Every employer shall
(a) consult and co-operate with the joint occupational health and safety committee, where such a committee has been established at the workplace, or the health and safety representative, where one has been selected at the workplace;
(b) co-operate with any person performing a duty imposed or exercising a power conferred by this Act or the regulations;
(c) provide such additional training of committee members as may be prescribed by the regulations;
(d) comply with this Act and the regulations and ensure that employees at the workplace comply with this Act and the regulations; and
(e) where an occupational health and safety policy or occupational health and safety program is required pursuant to this Act or the regulations, establish the policy or program.
(3) The employer at a subsea coal mine shall provide such additional resources or information for the committee as may be prescribed by the regulations. 1996, c. 7, s. 13; 2007, c. 14, s. 7.



OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY

Requirement for policy
27 (1) Where
(a) five or more employees are regularly employed by an employer other than a constructor or contractor;
(b) five or more employees are regularly employed directly by a constructor or contractor, not including employees for whose services the constructor or contractor has contracted;
(c) the regulations require an occupational health and safety policy; or
(d) an officer so orders,
the employer shall prepare and review, at least annually, a written occupational health and safety policy, in consultation with the committee or representative, if any.
(2) Where this Act or the regulations do not require there to be a committee at a workplace, consultation on the development of the policy shall be carried out by the employer and shall include discussion of the proposed policy at one or more workplace health and safety meetings involving the employees.
(3) The policy shall express the employer's commitment to occupational health and safety and shall include
(a) the reasons for the employer's commitment to health and safety;
(b) the commitment of the employer to co-operate with the employees in pursuing occupational health and safety; and
(c) the responsibilities of the employer, supervisors and other employees in fulfilling the commitment required pursuant to clause (b). 1996, c. 7, s. 27.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAM
Requirement for program
28 (1) Where
(a) twenty or more employees are regularly employed by an employer other than a constructor or contractor;
(b) twenty or more employees are regularly employed directly by a constructor or contractor, not including employees for whose services the constructor or contractor has contracted; or
(c) the regulations require an occupational health and safety program,
the employer shall establish and maintain a written occupational health and safety program, in consultation with the committee or representative, if any, that is adapted to the circumstances of the organization for the purpose of implementing the employer's policy, this Act and the regulations.
(2) The program shall include
(a) provision for the training and supervision of employees in matters necessary to their health and safety and the health and safety of other persons at the workplace;
(b) provision for the preparation of written work procedures required to implement safe and healthy work practices, including those required pursuant to this Act, the regulations or by order of an officer, and identification of the types of work for which the procedures are required at the employer's workplace;
(c) provision for the establishment and continued operation of a committee required pursuant to this Act, including maintenance of records of membership, rules of procedure, access to a level of management with authority to resolve health and safety matters and any information required under this Act or the regulations to be maintained in relation to a committee;
(d) provision for the selection and functions of a representative where required pursuant to this Act, including provision for access by the representative to a level of management with authority to resolve health and safety matters;
(e) a hazard identification system that includes
(i) evaluation of the workplace to identify potential hazards,
(ii) procedures and schedules for regular inspections,
(iii) procedures for ensuring the reporting of hazards and the accountability of persons responsible for the correction of hazards, and
(iv) identification of the circumstances where hazards must be reported by the employer to the committee or representative, if any, and the procedures for doing so;
(f) a system for workplace occupational health and safety monitoring, prompt follow-up and control of identified hazards;
(g) a system for the prompt investigation of hazardous occurrences to determine their causes and the actions needed to prevent recurrences;
(h) maintenance of records and statistics, including reports of occupational health and safety inspections and occupational health and safety investigations, with provision for making them available to persons entitled to receive them pursuant to this Act; and
(i) provision for monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of the program.
(3) The employer shall make available a copy of the program
(a) to the committee or representative, if any; and
(b) on request, to an employee at the workplace. 1996, c. 7, s. 28.



JOINT OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEES

Requirement for committees
29 (1) At every workplace where twenty or more persons are regularly employed, the employer shall establish and maintain one joint occupational health and safety committee or, at the discretion of the employer, more than one such committee and, where twenty or more persons are regularly employed by one or more constructors at a project, a constructor shall establish and maintain a joint occupational health and safety committee for the project.
(2) At a workplace where fewer than twenty persons are regularly employed, the

Director may
(a) consult with the employer and employees at the workplace regarding whether a committee should be formed at the workplace; and
(b) order that a committee be established.
(3) Where an order respecting establishment of a committee is given pursuant to subsection (2), the employer shall ensure that the committee is chosen and functioning in accordance with this Act within fifteen days of receipt of the order. 1996, c. 7, s. 29.

Committee where subsea coal mine
29A Notwithstanding Section 29, at a subsea coal mine where fewer than twenty persons are regularly employed, the employer shall establish and maintain a joint occupational health and safety committee where so prescribed by the regulations. 2007, c. 14, s. 7.

Composition and procedure of committee
30 (1) A committee shall consist of such number of persons as may be agreed to by the employer and the employees or their union or unions.
(2) At least half of the members of a committee shall be employees at the workplace who are not connected with the management of the workplace and the employer may choose up to one half of the members of the committee if the employer wishes to do so.
(3) The employees on the committee are to be determined by the employees they represent, or designated by the union that represents the employees.
(4) A committee shall meet at least once each month unless
(a) a different frequency is prescribed by the regulations; or
(b) the committee alters the required frequency of meetings in its rules of procedure.
(5) Where a committee alters the required frequency of meetings by its rules of procedure and the Director is not satisfied that the frequency of meetings is sufficient to enable the committee to effectively perform its functions, the frequency of meetings shall be as determined by the Director.
(6) An employee who is a member of a committee is entitled to such time off from work as is necessary to attend meetings of the committee, to take any training prescribed by the regulations and to carry out the employee's functions as a member of the committee, and such time off is deemed to be work time for which the employee shall be paid by the employer at the applicable rate.
(7) A committee shall establish its own rules of procedure and shall adhere to the applicable regulations.
(8) Unless a committee determines another arrangement for chairing the committee in its rules of procedure, two of the members of the committee shall co-chair the committee, one of whom shall be selected by the members who represent employees and the other of whom shall be selected by the other members.
(9) The rules of procedure established pursuant to subsection (7) shall include an annual determination of the method of selecting the person or persons who shall
(a) chair the committee; and
(b) hold the position of chair for the coming year.
(10) Where agreement is not reached on
(a) the size of the committee;
(b) the designation of employees to be members; or
(c) rules of procedure, the Director shall determine the matter. 1996, c. 7, s. 30.

Functions of committees
31 (1) It is the function of the committee to involve employers and employees together in occupational health and safety in the workplace and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes
(a) the co-operative identification of hazards to health and safety and effective systems to respond to the hazards;
(b) the co-operative auditing of compliance with health and safety requirements in the workplace;
(c) receipt, investigation and prompt disposition of matters and complaints with respect to workplace health and safety;
(d) participation in inspections, inquiries and investigations concerning the occupational health and safety of the employees and, in particular, participation in an inspection referred to in Section 50;
(e) advising on individual protective devices, equipment and clothing that, complying with this Act and the regulations, are best adapted to the needs of the employees;
(f) advising the employer regarding a policy or program required pursuant to this Act or the regulations and making recommendations to the employer, the employees and any person for the improvement of the health and safety of persons at the workplace;
(g) maintaining records and minutes of committee meetings in a form and manner approved by the Director and providing an officer with a copy of these records or minutes on request; and
(h) performing any other duties assigned to it
(i) by the Director,
(ii) by agreement between the employer and the employees or the union, or
(iii) as are established by the regulations. 1996, c. 7, s. 31.

Deemed establishment of committee
32 Where a committee was established prior to January 1, 1986, and has been maintained, pursuant to a collective agreement or other arrangement in a workplace, and the Director is satisfied that such committee or arrangement provides benefits for the health and safety of employees equal to or greater than the benefits to be derived under a committee established pursuant to this Act, the committee or arrangement is deemed to have been established in compliance with this Act. 1996, c. 7, s. 32.



HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVES

Requirement for and functions of representatives
33 (1) At a workplace where no committee is required pursuant to Section 29 and where the number of persons employed is five or more, the employer shall cause the employees to select at least one health and safety representative from among the employees at the workplace who are not connected with the management of the workplace.
(2) At a project where no committee is required pursuant to Section 29 and where the number of persons employed is five or more, a constructor shall cause the employees to select at least one health and safety representative for the purposes of the project from among the employees at the project who are not connected with the management at the project.
(3) At a workplace where fewer than five persons are employed, the Director may
(a) consult with the employer and employees at the workplace regarding whether a representative should be selected at the workplace; and
(b) order that a representative be selected by the employees from among the employees at the workplace who are not connected with the management of the workplace.
(4) Where an order respecting the selection of a representative is given pursuant to subsection (3), the employer shall ensure that the representative is selected and functioning in accordance with this Act within fifteen days of receipt of the order.
(5) An employee who is a representative is entitled to such reasonable time off from work as is necessary to carry out the employee's functions as a representative, and such time off is deemed to be work time for which the employee shall be paid by the employer at the applicable rate.
(6) It is the function of the representative to be involved, on behalf of the employees together with the employer, in occupational health and safety in the workplace and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes
(a) the co-operative identification of hazards to health and safety and effective systems to respond to the hazards;
(b) the co-operative auditing of compliance with health and safety requirements in the workplace;
(c) receipt of and co-operation with the employer in the investigation and prompt disposition of matters and complaints with respect to workplace health and safety;
(d) participation in inspections, inquiries and investigations concerning the occupational health and safety of the employees and, in particular, participation in an inspection referred to in Section 50;
(e) advising on individual protective devices, equipment and clothing which, complying with this Act and the regulations, are best adapted to the needs of the employees;
(f) advising the employer regarding a policy or program required by this Act or the regulations and making recommendations to the employer, the employees and any person for the improvement of the health and safety of persons at the workplace; and
(g) performing any other duties assigned to the representative
(i) by the Director,
(ii) by agreement between the employer and the employees or the union, or
(iii) as are established by the regulations. 1996, c. 7, s. 33.



COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION

Response to written recommendations
34 (1) An employer who receives written recommendations from a committee or representative and a request in writing to respond to the recommendations, shall respond in writing to the committee or representative within twenty-one days, and the response shall
(a) indicate acceptance of the recommendations; or
(b) give reasons for the disagreement with any recommendations that the employer does not accept,
or, where it is not reasonably possible to provide a response before the expiry of the twenty-one day period, provide within that time a reasonable explanation for the delay, indicate to the committee or representative when the response will be forthcoming, and provide the response as soon as it is available.
(2) Where the committee or representative makes a request pursuant to subsection (1) and is not satisfied that the explanation provided for a delay in responding is reasonable in the circumstances, the chair or co-chairs of the committee, or representative, as the case may be, shall promptly report this fact to an officer. 1996, c. 7, s. 34.

Duty of employer to provide certain information
35 (1) An employer shall notify the committee or representative, if any, of the existence of reports of
(a) workplace occupational health or safety inspections; and
(b) workplace occupational health or safety monitoring or tests,
undertaken at the workplace by, or at the request of, an officer or the employer and, on request, the employer shall make the reports available to the committee or the representative.
(2) An employer shall make available to an employee at a workplace, on request, reports of
(a) workplace occupational health or safety inspections; and
(b) workplace occupational health or safety monitoring or tests,
undertaken at the workplace by, or at the request of, an officer or the employer.
(3) Within twenty-one days of receiving a request in writing from the committee, representative or, where there is no committee or representative, an employee at a workplace for any information of a health or safety nature other than that specified in subsection (1), the employer shall respond in writing and the response shall
(a) provide the requested information; or
(b) give reasons for not providing the information, in whole or in part,
and where it is not reasonably possible to provide a response before the expiry of the twenty-one day period, provide within that time a reasonable explanation for the delay, indicate to the committee, representative or employee when the response will be forthcoming and provide the response as soon as it is available.
(4) Where the committee, representative or employee makes a request pursuant to subsection (3) and is not satisfied that the explanation provided for a delay in responding is reasonable in the circumstances, the chair or co-chairs of the committee, the representative or the employee, as the case may be, shall promptly report this fact to an officer. 1996, c. 7, s. 35.

Duty of officer to provide certain information
36 An officer shall provide to the employer at a workplace reports of
(a) workplace occupational health or safety inspections; and
(b) workplace occupational health or safety monitoring or tests,
undertaken at the workplace by, or at the request of, an officer, and the employer shall comply with subsections 35(1) and (2). 1996, c. 7, s. 36.

Duty of employer to post certain information
37 The employer shall
(a) post and maintain the current names of the committee members or the representative, if any, and the means of contacting them; and
(b) post promptly, where there is a committee, the minutes of the most recent committee meeting and ensure they remain posted until superseded by minutes of the next committee meeting. 1996, c. 7, s. 37.

Availability of information at workplace
38 (1) Every employer shall
(a) make available for examination at the workplace
(i) a copy of the regulations that relate to the workplace, and
(ii) information and reports that an officer considers advisable to enable employees to become acquainted with their rights and responsibilities pursuant to this Act and the regulations;
and
(b) post in a prominent place or places in the workplace capable of being easily accessed by the employees
(i) a current copy of this Act,
(ii) a code of practice required pursuant to this Act or the regulations,
(iii) a current telephone number for reporting occupational health or safety concerns to the Division, and
(iv) where the employer is required pursuant to this Act or the regulations to have an occupational health and safety policy, the policy,
and ensure they remain posted.
(2) Where anything other than the information listed in subsection (1) is required to be posted pursuant to this Act or the regulations, the person who has the duty to post shall
(a) post a legible copy of it in a prominent place or places in the workplace capable of being easily accessed by the employees; and
(b) ensure that it remains posted for at least seven days, or longer if additional time is necessary to enable employees at the workplace to inform themselves of the content, unless this Act or the regulations otherwise specify,
or in lieu of complying with clauses (a) and (b), shall provide the information to each employee, in writing. 1996, c. 7, s. 38.
Duty of employer to provide certain information
39 (1) Where
(a) an officer makes an order pursuant to this Act or the regulations against an employer;
(b) a compliance notice is required of an employer pursuant to subsection 56(1); or
(c) an appeal is initiated or disposed of pursuant to Section 67 or 69,
the employer shall, subject to subsections (2) and (3), immediately
(d) post the order, compliance notice, notice of appeal or decision; and
(e) deliver a copy of the order, compliance notice, notice of appeal or decision to the committee or representative, if any.
(2) An officer may authorize in writing an officer's order to be edited to protect a trade secret, secret manufacturing process or confidential personal information, the disclosure of which is limited pursuant to this Act.
(3) Where an order is edited pursuant to subsection (2), the authorization of the officer shall be affixed to the order and it shall be posted in accordance with this Act in substitution for the unedited order. 1996, c. 7, s. 39.

Service of documents
40 (1) For the purpose of this Act and the regulations and any proceedings thereunder, any order, notice, document or other communication sent through the mail shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to have been received by the addressee in the ordinary course of mail.
(2) An order, notice, document or other communication may be served or delivered for the purpose of this Act or the regulations by personal service or by sending by registered mail to the last known address of the addressee. 1996, c. 7, s. 40.
Right to annual summary of data
41 Where the Workers' Compensation Act applies to a workplace,
(a) a committee;
(b) a representative;
(c) an employee; or
(d) an employer,
at the workplace who so requests in writing shall receive an annual summary of data relating to the employer. 1996, c. 7, s. 41.
 

 

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