Monday, May 27, 2013

Health & Safety for Small Business

Need to know: Health & Safety

Health and safety is about preventing people from being harmed at work or becoming ill through work, the law states that we must not put ourselves; other workers or the public in danger and this applies to all businesses of all sizes.

That said, many of us run our small businesses from our homes.  Our homes are often overlooked when it comes to safety in fact safety gets thrown out the window when we are at home.  Did you know that 66% of accidents happen at home?  Conduct a health and safety audit on your home to see where you fall short when it comes to safety at home.

In addition, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a self employed person must abide by the sections of the act that pertain to them.

[ 5 ] Self-employed people are required to notify a director of the Ministry of Labour, in writing, if they sustain an occupational injury or illness.

Outlined below are the OHSA obligations of an employer under the General Duties of Employers Clauses and Prescribed Duties of an Employer both under Section 25 & 26 of the act.  Please note that under the act, Self Employed Persons must follow (with necessary modifications the following sections of the act:  

4.  Subsection 25 (1), clauses 26 (1) (c), (e), (f) and (g), subsection 33 (1) and sections 34, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 51, 52, 54, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, 66, 67, 68 and 69, and the regulations in relation thereto, apply with necessary modifications to a self-employed person. 2001, c. 9, Sched. I, s. 3 (1).

 General Duties of Employers

An Ontario employer, who is covered by the Act, has an obligation to:

  • instruct, inform and supervise workers to protect their health and safety [section 25(2)(a)];
  • assist in a medical emergency by providing any information–including confidential business information–to a qualified medical practitioner who requests the information in order to diagnose or treat any person [section 25(2)(b)];
  • Appoint competent persons as supervisors [section 25(2)(c)]. "Competent person" has a very specific meaning under the Act. He or she must:
    • be qualified–through knowledge, training and experience–to organize the work and its performance;
    • be familiar with the Act and the regulations that apply to the work being performed in the workplace;
    • know about any actual or potential danger to health and safety in the workplace; [ 1 ]
  • inform a worker, or a person in authority over a worker, about any hazard in the work and train that worker in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any equipment, substances, tools, material, etc. [section 25(2)(d)];
  • help committees and health and safety representatives to carry out their duties [section 25(2)(e)];
  • not employ workers who are under such age as may be prescribed or knowingly permit underage persons to be in or near the workplace [sections 25(2)(f) and (g)]; [ 2 ]
  • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker [section 25(2)(h)];
  • Post in the workplace a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as explanatory material prepared by the ministry that outlines the rights, responsibilities and duties of workers. This material must be in English and the majority language in the workplace [section 25(2)(i)];
  • Prepare a written occupational health and safety policy, review that policy at least once a year and set up a program to implement it [section 25(2)(j)]. [ 3 ] For guidance on how to do this, see Appendix A;
  • post a copy of the occupational health and safety policy in the workplace, where workers will be most likely to see it [section 25 (2)(k)];
  • Provide the joint committee or the health and safety representative with the results of any occupational health and safety report that the employer has. If the report is in writing, the employer must also provide a copy of the relevant parts of the report [section 25(2)(1)];
  • Advise workers of the results of such a report. If the report is in writing, the employer must, on request, make available to workers copies of those portions that concern occupational health and safety [section 25(2)(m)]; and
  • ensure that every part of the physical structure of the workplace can support all loads to which it may be subjected, in accordance with the Building Code Act and any standards prescribed by the ministry [section 25(1)(e)]. This duty also applies to the self-employed.

Prescribed Duties of Employers

The word "prescribed" appears in many sections of the Act. It means that a regulation must exist in order to put into effect the requirements of that section. Where there is no regulation, the requirements of that section are not in force. 

Employers and supervisors have an obligation to know which regulations apply to their workplaces. If there is any uncertainty, an inspector should be consulted. 

Here is a list of duties of employers, under the Act, which may be prescribed. The first seven duties also apply to the self-employed. Where there is a regulation, an employer must:  

  1. provide and maintain in good condition any prescribed equipment, materials and protective devices [sections 25(1)(a) and (b)];
  2. ensure that the above are used in accordance with the regulations [section 25(1)(d)];
  3. carry out any measures and procedures that are prescribed for the workplace [section 25(1)(c)];
  4. keep and maintain accurate records, as prescribed, of the handling, storage, use and disposal of biological, chemical or physical agents [section 26(1)(c)];
  5. notify a director of the Ministry of Labour of the use or introduction into a workplace of any prescribed biological, chemical or physical agents [section 26(1)(e)];
  6. monitor, as prescribed, the levels of biological, chemical, or physical agents and keep and post accurate records of these levels [section 26(1)(f)];
  7. comply with a prescribed standard that limits the exposure of a worker to biological, chemical or physical agents [section 26(1)(g)];
  8. keep, maintain and make available to workers prescribed records of worker exposure to chemical, biological or physical agents [section 26(1)(d)];
  9. establish and maintain an occupational health service for workers, as prescribed [sections 26(1)(a) and (b)];
  10. provide prescribed medical surveillance programs and safety-related medical examinations and tests, for the benefit of workers [sections 26(1)(h) and (i)]; [ 4 ]
  11. ensure, where prescribed, that only workers who have taken any prescribed medical examinations, tests or X-rays and who have been found physically fit to work, be allowed to work or be in a workplace [section 26(1)(j)];
  12. where so prescribed, provide a worker with written instructions on the measures and procedures to be taken for his or her protection [section 26(1)(k)]; and
  13. Carry out any prescribed training programs for workers, supervisors and committee members [section 26(1)(l)].

When hiring contractors or self employed persons must provide a copy of WSIB Certificate and insurance for general liability to you or sign WSIB exemption form - 1158A General Independent Operators Questionnaire.
Critical First Steps Checklist

There are some critical first steps you need to take. At a minimum have you:
ð       Posted a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act where workers can access it?

ð       Identified hazards in your workplace and told your workers about them?

ð       Know what your responsibilities are to maintain a healthy and safe workplace?

ð       Posted a copy of the In Case of Injury at Work poster?
visit the WSIB site to obtain the poster

ð       Knowledge of what your first aid requirements are?

ð       Developed and posted a copy of your health and safety policy (employers with 6+ employees)?

ð       Trained your workers to work safely?

ð       Insist your workers use personal protective equipment when necessary?

ð       Instructed your workers on what to do in case of an emergency?

ð       Inspected your workplace on a regular basis (employers with 6+ employees)?

ð       Facilitated the election (from amongst your workforce) of a health and safety representative (for firms with 6-19 employees and no designated substance)

ð       Formed a joint health and safety committee (JHSC) for your workplace (employers with 20+ workers, or when you have designated substance)?
ð       Bill 168 legislated requirements
ð       AODA

Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480

Monday, May 20, 2013

Developing your IRS (Internal Responsibility System)

Many of us have Corporate Responsibility Statements as part of our corporate philosophy, mantras, in our vision, missions and value statements, but do we live up to our corporate responsibilities when it comes to health and safety?
The provincial governments across Canada have or are in the process of redesigning and evaluating their health and safety legislations, compliance mandates and enforcement of legislative requirements.  Ontario has recruited new health and safety inspectors with the hope of educating and enacting compliance, reducing the number of injuries and deaths across the province and enforcing corporate responsibility. 

Do you know what to do when a Health and Safety Inspector/Officer comes knocking on their door?

Do not:

ü  send them away because they do not have an appointment,

ü  tell them that you do not have time to see them, OR

ü  get upset with them. 

Inspectors are authorized to conduct workplace inspections and investigations to determine whether employers are in compliance with safe and healthful workplace standards in the province. Should an Inspector come to your door, you should:
ü  Politely invite them in and ask if they would like a cup of coffee (do not panic);

ü  Ask to see their credentials – (Badge, Photo ID and Business Card).   If they do not have proper ID (do not accept a business card only – anyone can print business cards) ask them for a phone number to phone and confirm who they are;

ü  Contact your company Health & Safety Representative to respond to the situation;  and

ü  Ask the officer to state the purpose of the visit (employee complaint, targeted inspection, accident, etc.)  Oblige them with the information they request in a timely manner;  

In preparation for an inspection, first ensure your Internal Responsibility System is up to date, that you have conducted your required inspections of the facility and documented them, and that all other health and safety requirements have been met or exceeds the regulatory requirements.

What is the Internal Responsibility System or IRS as it is so often called?  No, it is not the US Internal Revenue Service we so often here about in the news and in the movies; it is Government Legislated, mandatory across the country with a Health and Safety focus, it is everyone’s corporate responsibility in the workplace.  The IRS is the very foundation of health and safety in the workplace, establishing workers and employers responsibility for his or her own safety, for the safety of their co-workers and for development of your Health and Safety Management System for your organization.   

The important question is now that you’ve heard of it; do you understand your obligations and are you in compliance? 
In developing your IRS processes, procedures and overall Management System, we have provided a few tips to ease the burden using the PDRC Method (Plan, Do, Check & Review): 

1.      The Planning Stage:

This is the most critical stage in the process. Document all steps in the process development of your Internal Responsibility System (IRS), Processes and Procedures; always getting the approval of senior management (owner, president or CEO of the company).

2.      The Do Stage:

a)         During this stage in the process you will establish policy, procedures, protocols and training; establishing timelines, strategy and performance measures. 

b)        Establish your management system processes, procedures and check systems.

By establishing your IRS philosophy in everything you do, you will increase productivity, reduce costs and build a sustainable, reliable and cohesive workplace and above all a healthy safe workplace. 

3.      The Check Stage:

During this stage in the process you will audit/check the system to ensure it is functioning properly: efficiently and effectively. 

4.      The Review and Change Stage:

The review and change stage creates the cyclical nature of the IRS System.  It is critical that you review and update procedures, policies, and training; establishing new system procedures with additions and changes to the operations of your business minimally annually but more frequently as changes occur in the organization.
Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480



Monday, May 13, 2013

Safety at Home

Safety at Home!


Did you know that 44% of critical injuries occur at home?  Did you know that you are 10 times safer at work than at home?

Safety is often forgotten when we walk through our doors to our homes.  Home is our safety net, our safe haven; but when it comes to working safely and thinking about protecting ourselves, we often forget about safety measures around the home.

How often have you or someone you know or have seen cutting the grass with sandals on and no protective equipment; using a chain saw without protective equipment and proper clothing; or working in the garden without a hat and sunscreen to protect you from the sun. 

How many of you conduct a safety audit on our homes monthly, annually or at all?


ü  Are your halls clear of obstacles?

ü  Are your hallways and walkways well lit?  Do your light bulbs need to be changed?

ü  Do you have a Carbon Monoxide Detector?  If yes, is it old and needs replacing?

ü  Do you have functioning smoke detectors?

ü  Do you have safety measures set up in your home such as alarm systems, secure windows, proper lighting outside around entrances, driveways etc.?


These are just a few things on a check list or audit of your home that should be checked regularly.  You also need to check your appliances and pipes regularly to ensure appliance  are safe and gas pipes are safe – no leaks etc.


Outside of general maintenance and checks around your home, are you prepared for an emergency at home?


You need to be prepared in case of:

ü  Earthquakes

ü  Floods

ü  Power Outages

ü  Forest Fires

ü  Evacuation Alerts

ü  Tornados

ü  Pandemic


Beyond Rewards safety team can assist you with home safety.  We can come onsite to your home and complete a home safety inspection/audit.  For more information about our home audits, to purchase our home inspection guide book or to receive a checklist of safety for your home, email us at:  

Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480

Monday, May 6, 2013

Emergency Preparedness Week

Emergency Preparedness Week

May 6th-May 12th


This is an especially memorable week for me, as my grandfather George Moon started the Emergency Measures Organization in Guelph Ontario back in 1957; known to many of us as the EMO.  My grandfather was a member of the fire brigade in England during the Second World War, in charge of EMS.  He brought that knowledge with him to Canada.  An article about the EMO and my grandfather can be read in the Wellington Advertiser at the following link:

Unless we have an emergency we tend to forget about the importance of planning and being prepared.  Emergency Preparedness Week brings this information to the forefront of our minds, but how many of us really pay heed to this information! Are you prepared?  Do you stay abreast of what is happening in the world around you that might trigger an emergency locally?  Do you follow Emergency Management provincially for weather related emergencies, pandemics or other health related emergencies such as SARS?
Preparedness starts at home but does not end there.  Workplaces should also train their employees and be prepared for emergency situations.  The government of Canada has provided resources for each and every one of us to use as a guide to prepare.  Take the time this week to refer to this link and find out how you can prepare your family, friends, and even those in your workplaces for emergencies situations.  Find out what to do before, during and after an emergency.
Do you have qualified first aiders on site in your workplaces?  Take this week and check all certificates to ensure they are current.  Register workers to take first aid training to ensure you have a qualified first aider on each shift and job site. 

Do you have an emergency management plan in place?  Do you have individual emergency plans for persons with disabilities?  Do you have an emergency plan at home?  Are you sure you are prepared? 
My grandfather taught me many lessons as a child that until adulthood I thought was silly and unnecessary.  With health and safety being at the forefront of my mind with my line of work, I see the value in his teachings today.  He taught St. John’s Ambulance first aid training throughout the county’s around Guelph and received a citation from the Governor General Rolland Michener for his loyal and dedicated service to the safety and wellbeing of many of us in Southern Ontario. 

As my grandfather would say, “the safety and wellbeing of others is everyone’s responsibility”.  So take the time this week to educate yourself on how you can protect your loved ones, your friends and co-workers if and when an emergency situation strikes. 

Save a life – it may be your own! - Don’t react; make the changes and necessary plans today!

Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480