In April 2016, government introduced and passed Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to help keep Nova Scotians safe at work. Most employers in Nova Scotia operate safe workplaces. However, there are some who repeatedly break serious health and safety rules, putting Nova Scotians at risk of serious injury or death. The amendments hold those employers more accountable, and were passed by the legislature with a commitment by the Department to work with stakeholders on next steps. That work is complete, and we’re ready to put the changes into place. We are writing today to inform you that the amendments will come into force on June 12, 2017.
As you will remember, the changes better define when, how, and what injuries and incidents must be reported, and give government additional tools and authority to enforce safety requirements for those who repeatedly disregard safety regulations, putting people at risk of serious injury or death. The Occupational Health and Safety Director now has the authority to deal with repeat offenders by:
- issuing stop-work orders at all their sites where these is potential for serious injury or death;
- applying to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for an injunction to prohibit them from working in an industry where they have a repeated history of causing serious injuries or deaths;
- requiring them to advise the department of future work locations and activities so that an inspection can be conducted as needed.
The Department will continue to work with all of you between now and June to encourage further awareness and understanding of the changes. Over the next couple of weeks, we will post further information on our website, and an Occupational Health and Safety Officer may also go over this information with you during an upcoming workplace visit.
We ask that you please share this information with your workplace networks. We must continue to work together to keep Nova Scotians safe.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 1-800-952-2687 or 902-424-5400, or via email at [email protected].