Health and Safety

The best Health and Safety Programs involve every level of the company, instilling a safety culture that reduces accidents for workers and improves financial results. This section is intended to provide information and guidance in the following areas as you consider the approach you wish to take to Health and Safety in your company:

  • Key Considerations for Health and Safety Programs
  • Health and Safety in Canada

Key Considerations for Health and Safety Programs Health and Safety Program Benefits

  • Improved employee morale
  • Decreased lost time, fewer days of absence
  • Fewer workplace injuries and illnesses
  • Lower insurance costs
  • Safety culture

Implementing a Health and Safety Program

  • Combine performance standards with S&H standards
  • Talk the talk and walk the walk
  • Top down support
  • Bottom up implementation

Measurement Tools

  • Statistical reports, ie) accidents, near misses, medical aids, first aids, days lost time, etc.
  • Employee surveys
  • Risk analysis
  • Periodic inspections
  • Process improvement initiatives


  • Obtain Management buy-in
  • Build trust
  • Conduct self-assessments
  • Develop a site safety vision
  • Develop a system of accountability and measures
  • Implement recognition and rewards
  • Provide awareness training
  • Implement process changes
  • Continually measure, communicate results and celebrate accomplishments and milestones

Health and Safety in Canada
The Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out the rights and duties of all parties in the workplace. Its main purpose is to protect workers against health and safety hazards on the job. The Act establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards, and it provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily. The guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act explains what every worker, supervisor, employer, constructor and workplace owner needs to know about the Act. Almost every workplace in Ontario is covered by the Act and regulations. Chapter 3, Who is Covered by the Act? lists work and workplaces not covered. The Ministry works closely with its agencies, safe workplace associations (SWAs), worker training centres and clinics, and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. For more information about these organizations and other sources of Health and Safety information, see our list of occupational health and safety resources. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is a Canadian federal government agency based in Hamilton, Ontario, which serves to support the vision of eliminating all Canadian work-related illnesses and injuries.

Role of CCOHS
CCOHS provides Canadians with unbiased, relevant information and advice that supports responsible decision-making and promotes safe and healthy working environments. CCOHS makes a vast scope of occupational health and safety information readily available, in clear language that is appropriate for all users, from the general public to the Health and Safety professional. Internationally, the Centre is renowned as an innovative, authoritative Occupational Health and Safety resource. CCOHS partners and collaborates with agencies and organizations from Canada and around the world to improve the quality and quantity of resources and programs, as well as expand the breadth of usage of OSH information to many different segments of society.

Each Canadian province has its own specific Health and Safety legislation, although fundamentally they are similar in nature. In Ontario, the Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA) is a not-for-profit, member-driven organization. Representing approximately 48,000 member firms and more than 1.7 million workers, IAPA is Canada’s largest workplace Health and Safety organization. IAPA has taken a leading role in the prevention of workplace injury and illness. Their site features full-text brochures on safety issues. As another example, in Alberta, Workplace Health and Safety and help for businesses are included under Alberta’s Ministry of Human Resource and Employment. Safety associations are prevalent in all provinces, providing many valuable services for companies. The difference in each provincial ministry’s requirements can vary when it comes to training. For example in Ontario if you are a roofing company, you must have each employee attend a Fall Protection Course and be issued a card, provided by the Ministry, to verify the training. The Company must also meet some procedural requirements. The same type of legislation applies to Mining, Construction, Chainsaws, etc. In Ontario, as in many of the other provinces, W.S.I.B. (Worker’s Compensation) rates charged to each company are based on the following criteria: a) the type of risk involved during the company’s normal business activity (example construction-high risk, office worker-low risk), and b) history of accidents reported by the company. W.S.I.B. (Worker’s Compensation) rates can be altered if the Company has a good, sound Health and Safety Program in place and well documented. The savings to the Company can be quite significant. Think of a construction company with 10 or 20 workers paying a premium of 10% and then it is reduced to 5% or 6%.

Health and Safety Policy
An effective Health and Safety program makes all the difference in preventing injuries and illnesses in the workplace. The result is lower accident-related costs. Other benefits include reduced absenteeism, lower turnover, higher productivity, and improved employee morale. And it’s the right thing to do. By developing a clear statement of management policy, you help everyone involved with the worksite understand the importance of Health and Safety protection in relation to other organizational values (e.g., production vs. safety and health). A Health and Safety policy provides an overall direction or vision while setting a frame-work from which specific goals and objectives can be developed.

Goals and objectives
You should make your general Health and Safety policy specific by establishing clear goals and objectives. Make objectives realistic and attainable, aiming at specific areas of performance that can be measured or verified. Some examples are: “have weekly inspections and correct hazards found within 24 hours”, or “train all employees about hazards of their jobs, and specific safe behaviors before beginning work.”

Visible top management leadership

Values, goals, etc., of top management in an organization tend to get emulated and accomplished. If employees see the emphasis that top management puts on Health and Safety, they are more likely to emphasize it in their own activities. Besides following set safety rules themselves, managers can also become visible by participating in plant-wide safety and health inspections, personally stopping activities or conditions that are hazardous until the hazards can be corrected, assigning specific responsibilities, participating in or helping to provide training, and tracking safety and health performance.