Purpose: All workplaces in Nova Scotia are legislated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1996, Chapter 7, Amendments and Regulations made pursuant to this Act. The Act Applies to different workplaces in different ways. Employers are responsible for knowing and understanding the legislation and how it affects their workplace.
Relevant Government Acts and Regulations
The Occupational Health and Safety Act is applied to all Nova Scotia workplaces including farms. There are a number of related Regulations made pursuant to the OH&S Act which also apply to farm workplaces. A copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is required to be posted at the workplace and available to your employees. Other legislation is required to be available at your farm workplace for your employees. Complete copies of the Legislation Manual are available through the Society of Farm Safety Nova Scotia.
The relevant legislation includes:
- Occupational Health and Safety Act Statutes of Nova Scotia 1996, Chapter 7 and amendments
- Occupational Safety General Regulations
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System Regulations
- Fall Protection and Scaffolding Regulations
- Violence in the Workplace Regulations
- Occupational Health and Safety First Aid Regulations
- Occupational Health Regulations made pursuant to the Health Protection Act Statutes of Nova Scotia 2004, Chapter 4
- Occupational Health and Safety Administrative Penalties Regulations
- Smoke Free Places Act and Regulations
Administration, co – ordination, enforcement and promotion of the Act and Regulations is the responsibility of:
Nova Scotia Labour and Workforce Development
Occupational Health and Safety Division
Phone: 902-424-5301, www.gov.ns.ca/lwd/healthandsafety
Requirements for Occupational Health and Safety under the Legislation
All workplaces in Nova Scotia are subject to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1996 Chapter 7 and Regulations to the Act.
In the event of an incident or fatality on your farm involving Department of Labour and Workforce Development and the courts, you will be required to prove the steps you have taken to practice health and safety on your farm. One of the best ways is to have current and maintained written records of your safety practices starting with the required legislation. Your Farm Safety Manual – Legislation contains current copies of the relevant legislation when you receive it. The Society of Farm Safety Nova Scotia will advise and supply changes as they are enacted. All manual holders are responsible for updating and maintaining their manuals when information is received from SFSNS.
The foundation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is the Internal Responsibility System which is based on the principle that:
(i) all parties to the farm share the responsibility for health and safety of persons at the workplace.
(ii) the responsibility for creating, implementing and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace is shared by all parties according to their authority and ability. The employer has the greatest authority over the workplace and so has a greater ability to effect change.
(iii) the Act provides the basic framework on which to build participation of
all parties for health and safety in the workplace, to transfer information,
refusal of unsafe work and structure to comply with the Act and Regulations.
Farms with 1- 4 regularly employed (predictably recurring period of employment that exceeds four (4) weeks) employees are;
a) Subject to the Act and Regulations.
b) Do not have the same requirement for employee representation or formal safety program.
c) Required to fulfill their responsibilities for employer under the Occupational Health and Safety Act – Duties and Precautions Sec 13 subsection 1 – 2.
d) Required to provide a healthy and safe workplace for family, employees and visitors to the farm.
If you have five (5) or more regularly employed employees but less than twenty regularly employed employees; as employer you are required to:
a) Prepare and review annually a written occupational health and safety policy in consultation with the employees, employee representative or committee if one is required.
b) Communicate any information and provide training to the employees that will assist them to practice health and safety in their workplace.
c) Fulfill the duties and responsibilities for employer as presented in the Occupational Health and Safety Act – Duties and Precautions Sec. 13 subsections 1-2.
d) Ensure the employees select at least one employee who is not connected to management to represent the employees as health and safety representative.
If you have twenty (20) or more regularly employed employees; you are required to:
a) Fulfill the duties and responsibilities for employer as presented in the Occupational Health and Safety Act – Duties and Precautions Sec. 13 subsections 1-2.
b) To establish and maintain a written occupational health and safety program in consultation with a joint occupational health and safety committee.
c) The program is to be adapted to your own particular farm circumstances for the purpose of implementing your policy, program, the Act and Regulations.
d) Your program includes:
(1) Provision for training of employees.
(2) Provision for written work procedures.
(3) Provision for establishment and continuation of a joint occupational health and safety committee.
(4) A hazard inspection system to inspect, evaluate , report, investigate and control hazards in the workplace that can cause harm to employees. Your program will also include provision for accountability for correction of hazardous situations, follow – up record keeping and availability of the written information to employees.